Desrosiers Automotive Consultants (DAC) report shows that Employment in the automotive sector was declining in January and February 2020 even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, with modest drops of 1.0% and 1.4% in the first 2 months of the year.
Of specific note was the decline of approximately 10 percent seen in the motor vehicle manufacturing sector during the first 2 months of the year as the closure of GM’s Oshawa facility was felt.
It was March that brought with it more serious declines—even in sectors of the industry that were previously performing relatively well as lockdowns were put in place and the economy slowed. The manufacturing side of the auto sector saw employment drop by approximately twenty percent in March.
Beyond manufacturing, employment at automobile dealers fell 14.2% in March and employment in automotive repair and maintenance fell 11.6%—as the Canadian auto industry as a whole lost over 80,000 jobs in the month.
April numbers will undoubtedly show further declines as the full impact of the economic shutdown becomes apparent.
It should be noted, however, that even as the recovery emerges in the auto sector there are significant structural shifts taking place in employment composition that will have longer-term consequences for the Canadian industry.