Brown touts recovery
Ohio avoided slipping into an economic depression from a recession with the passage of the auto rescue package aimed to aid two U.S. automakers and a myriad of auto parts plants, a U.S. legislator touts.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown said the auto rescue package did not just save General Motors (GM) and Chrysler, but it kept hundreds of their suppliers in business and spurred growth in the domestic auto industry.
“Without the loans and investment, it is clear we would have been in a depression in Ohio, as would a handful of other states, creating a catastrophe that would have caused massive job losses and would have resulted in huge long-term damage to communities across Ohio,” Brown said Thursday in a media teleconference preceding President Barack Obama’s visit to Toledo to extol the auto recovery. “Ohio was in a recession before the rest of the nation and that would have been a depression if we would have let this industry collapse.”
In the year prior to GM and Chrysler filing for bankruptcy, the auto industry shed more than 400,000 jobs.
Brown said Obama did the right thing for the economy and American families by extending the auto bridge loans, which have been paid back ahead of schedule.
He said the auto manufacturers’ recovery, including that of the Ford Motor Co., which did not need federal assistance, is leading the country out of the recession.
“Historically, housing and manufacturing, specifically auto manufacturing, typically pull us out of a recession,” Brown said. “Housing is not yet doing that we know — the auto industry is doing that. This auto growth is so very important to getting us out of this recession.”
Since GM and Chrysler Group emerged from bankruptcy in June 2009, the auto industry has added 115,000 jobs — the fastest pace of job growth in the auto industry since 1998.
“The auto rescue wasn’t just about saving the Big Three, it was also about investing in Ohio manufacturers who make the auto parts used in some of America’s most popular cars,” Brown said. “Cars like the Chevy Cruze and the Jeep Wrangler aren’t just assembled in Ohio, but they’re made with parts manufactured in Ohio. By investing in the auto supply chain and Ohio’s economy, we can see how manufacturing can lead our economic recovery efforts.”
According to a 2010 study conducted by the Center for Automotive Research and provided by Brown, more than 792,000 Ohio jobs depend on the auto industry. The study shows 120,285 people directly employed by the auto industry, 276,330 jobs indirectly employed by automakers or parts suppliers and 395,981 spin-off employment. A 2011 study by the Center for Automotive Research found that 164,654 jobs in 2009 would have been lost in Ohio if the auto industry had not been rescued.
Brown released a map of Ohio (see above) to the media showing manufacturing plants assembling vehicles or supplying parts to the auto industry. He said Chrysler’s Jeep Wrangler is comprised of 70 percent parts made in America, many manufactured in Ohio.
He touted GM’s Chevy Cruze which resulted in 5,000 people being employed at the Lordstown plant with parts made throughout Ohio including Defiance and Toledo.
“A strong, resurgent auto industry is an economic force and multiplier to be reckoned with,” GM Policy and Washington Communications Director Greg Martin said. “Few other industries create more indirect jobs, investment or the research and development necessary to secure America’s, or in this case, Ohio’s bright future and global competitive standing.”
U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, said the president’s visit is to distract voters from the real challenges facing U.S. legislators.
“President Obama is coming to Toledo in an attempt to distract Ohio taxpayers from the fact that the federal government has borrowed several trillion dollars over the past few years to fund big government bailout and stimulus packages that have failed to turn our economy around,” Jordan said in a news release. “He will try to convince us that we should be happy that taxpayers are ‘only’ projected to lose $14 billion on the auto bailout, instead of losing the $48 billion some projected before.
“If borrowing trillions of dollars to fund big government programs was the key to turning our economy around, Ohio wouldn’t be facing high unemployment for yet another month,” he said. “When we end the out of control borrowing and spending, and reduce the job-killing tax and regulatory burden on families and small businesses, we will get our economy moving again and ensure a brighter future for generations of Americans.”