Auto/Economy
6:06 pm
Tue April 12, 2011

Detroit 3 ready to hire - but not at previous level

The Detroit Three are poised to create new auto jobs for the first time in years.  But an expert at the Center for Automotive Research warns that auto manufacturing jobs will never recover to their former levels. 

Ford, GM, and Chrysler closed a lot of plants over the past ten years, so many of the remaining plants are working at full capacity as new car sales improve. 

Sean McAlinden is an economist with the Center for Automotive Research .

"Almost the last layoff at GM and Ford have been recalled," says McAlinden, "so any additional production through the summer requires new hiring."

McAlinden says the Detroit Three will likely hire 35,000 people in the next five years.  

But that’s only about a third of the people who lost jobs with the companies in the past few years.   

McAlinden says auto jobs will plateau after 2015, which is why Michigan still needs to diversify its economy.

He says the state's  tool and die companies, auto research and development centers, and auto technical centers should be seeking new customers from different sectors of manufacturing.

Michigan's hospitals, he suggests, should band together to market their services to patients around the world.

And McAlinden says improving the state's transportation system could make it a hub for increased trade with Canada and countries around the world.   

Michigan ports, airports, highways, and railways are underutilized, he says, but improving the system requires investments that could be beyond the state's means right now.