That’s right: even as the United States is producing more cars than ever, U.S. (and Canadian) workers have never made so few of the parts that go into making those cars.
As the Wall Street Journal explains, this trend casts a long shadow over the much-vaunted comeback of U.S. car manufacturing.
As the inflow of low-cost foreign parts accelerates, wages at the entry level are drifting away from the generous compensation packages that made car-factory jobs the prize of American manufacturing.
At an American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings Inc. car-parts factory in Three Rivers, some new hires are paid as little as about $10 an hour, roughly equivalent to what the local Wal-Mart will pay. John Childers, a 38-year-old assembly-line stocker, said he is grateful for the job but finds it tough to get by on the money he and his fiancée make at the plant.
“Lower class is what we are,” he says. “Let’s be honest.”