Jobs & The Economy: Putting America Back to Work

“It is our generation’s task, to reignite the true engine of America’s economic growth —
a rising, thriving middle class,”

— President Barack Obama

Jobs & The Economy: Putting America Back to Work

Rescuing the American Auto Industry

When President Obama took office, the American auto industry was shedding jobs by the hundreds of thousands and GM and Chrysler faced the possibility of liquidation – which would have caused at least 1 million more jobs to be lost. The President made the tough choice to help provide the auto industry the temporary support it needed to grow and prosper. Two years later, GM, Ford, and Chrysler are all adding jobs, generating profit, and investing in their U.S. facilities. The industry is once again leading the world, and is stronger because the President demanded it retool and build more fuel efficient cars in exchange for aid. Since Chrysler and GM emerged from bankruptcy in June of 2009, the auto industry has added nearly 250,000 jobs, the best period of job growth in over a decade.  

 Auto Industry Timeline Graphic

(Click to enlarge and view the full report.)

In the first quarter of 2011, the auto industry reached an important milestone when, for the first time since 2004, all three Detroit automakers posted positive quarterly net profits. GM’s first quarter 2011 profit was nearly triple its profit from the same quarter just a year prior, while Ford’s first quarter 2011 net income marked its best first-quarter performance since 1998 and the company's eighth straight quarterly profit.

This positive financial performance is the result of expanded production and sales. In 2010, GM, Chrysler, and Ford saw their market share increase from 41 percent to over 44 percent, the first time Detroit gained market share against their foreign competitors since 1995. In addition, exports including sales to China are doing particularly well -- over the first five months of 2010, exports of vehicles and parts to China were up 283 percent year-on-year (to a total of $1.85 billion) with overall U.S. exports to China up by 39 percent.

Investing in communities and creating jobs

Most important of all, this surge in market share and has translated into more American jobs. Since GM and Chrysler exited bankruptcy, the Detroit Three have invested in facilities and added shifts at plants all across the country:

  • At Chrysler’s Jefferson North Assembly plant, a second shift was added that will yielded an additional 1,100 jobs, and an additional shift at the company’s Sterling Heights facility has added another 900 jobs. 
  • Last year Ford made a $400 million investment to convert its Chicago Assembly Plant for production of the Explorer. This investment is estimated to have added 1,200 direct jobs and 600 supplier jobs. 
  • Chrysler recently announced it intends to invest an additional $843 million into its transmission facilities in Kokomo, Indiana, which will bring the total investment into the Kokomo community to $1.1 billion responsible for retaining nearly 2,250 jobs. 
  • GM recently announced that it will invest an additional $2 billion in U.S. factories in the coming months, creating or preserving more than 4,000 jobs at seventeen facilities in eight states.


All told, since GM and Chrysler emerged from bankruptcy in June 2009, they have announced investments totaling over $8 billion in their U.S. facilities, creating or saving nearly 20,000 jobs. Chrysler has repaid every dime that it drew under the Obama Administration. And since Chrysler and GM emerged from bankruptcy in June of 2009, the auto industry has added  nearly 250,000 jobs, the best period of job growth in over a decade    


Boosting manufacturing across the U.S.

What has happened in the auto industry over the past two years is part of a larger story about the positive momentum in the manufacturing sector. American manufacturers have added nearly 500,000 manufacturing jobs since January 2010 – the strongest growth for any 30-month period since the mid-1990s. Companies are actively talking about ‘in-sourcing’ their manufacturing production back to the U.S. from other countries for the first time in recent memory. Indeed, while critics say that U.S. manufacturing is in decline, our manufacturing sector still is, on its own, one of the 10 largest economies in the world, and we intend to keep it that way.  

The actions taken by this Administration have laid the foundation for recovery in the manufacturing sector, but we cannot be complacent. That is why Congress must take action to build on our progress to date. The Administration has outlined an agenda to drive growth, job creation, and competitiveness in U.S. manufacturing. This agenda includes investing in a 21st century infrastructure, making the R&E tax credit permanent, reauthorizing the Clean Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit, redoubling our commitment to STEM education, and supporting continued investments in advanced vehicles and advanced manufacturing. There is no time to waste.