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December 22, 2008

The auto manufacturing industry in North Carolina

There's been an ongoing debate about assisting the big three U.S. auto manufacturers, but as many would put it, does North Carolina have a dog in this game? Put another way, does our state have any connection to the domestic auto manufacturing industry?

Dr. Mike Walden, North Carolina Cooperative Extension economist in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at N.C. State University, responds:

"Actually, we do. We are actually a state that has a significant vehicle parts manufacturing component. We don't assembly the cars in North Carolina, but we make the parts that obviously become the cars. And the industry has grown quite a bit over the last 30 years. We had 10,000 workers in this industry in 1977. Now, we have about 35,000. And output has grown even more. Output has grown 1,200 percent over that time period. Now, this is part of the growth of the entire auto industry in the South. Many of our neighboring states actually have assembly plants. In the short run, if we do have problems in the auto industry, and if we do have contraction, if you will, of the big three in Detroit, out factories here could suffer a little bit. In fact, they're already downsizing somewhat due to the recession, but I think in the long run, more and more of the auto industry in America will be located here in the South, and that includes North Carolina."

Posted by Dave at December 22, 2008 08:00 AM