Because so many jobs depend on automaking, the industry’s production problems are causing the pain to ripple.
Turmoil in the auto industry, a powerful engine of the global economy, is threatening growth and sending tremors through companies and communities that depend on carmakers for money and jobs, the New York Times reports.
For every car or truck that does not roll off an assembly line in Detroit, Stuttgart or Shanghai, jobs are in jeopardy. They may be miners digging ore for steel in Finland, workers molding tires in Thailand, or Volkswagen employees in Slovakia installing instrument panels in sport utility vehicles. Their livelihoods are at the mercy of supply shortages and shipping chokeholds that are forcing factories to curtail production.
The auto industry accounts for about 3 percent of global economic output, and in carmaking countries like Germany, Mexico, Japan or South Korea, or states like Michigan, the percentage is much higher. A slowdown in automaking can leave scars that take years to recover from.
The shock waves from the semiconductor crisis, which is forcing virtually all carmakers to eliminate shifts or temporarily shut down assembly lines, could be strong enough to push some countries into recession. In Japan, home of Toyota and Nissan, parts shortages caused exports to fall by 46 percent in September compared with a year earlier — a potent demonstration of the car industry’s importance to the economy.
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