While employment levels are up from the depths of the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, they’re still not at pre-pandemic levels, according to new analysis. Aftermarket sectors, though, appear to be on an upward trajectory.
The pandemic hasn’t been the only reason for reduced employment. A semi-conductor shortage as led to reduced available new vehicles and, in turn, less staff needed to sell what is available.
“Employment counts tumbled across the automotive space in 2020 and what should have been a period of recovery throughout this year was derailed before it had barely begun,” reported DesRosiers Automotive Consultants in an analysis of third-quarter employment levels.
At the end of the third quarter, the average employment count for the auto industry as a whole grew 5.2 per cent from the same point last year. That comes out to more than 633,000 employees on record. However, that’s still below the 2019 levels by 8.4 per cent.
When taking a closer look at sectors involving the automotive aftermarket — automotive parts and accessories stores, and repair and maintenance — there are positive signs.
According to DAC, automotive parts and accessories stores have seen employment up 2.6 per cent year to date. On the repair side, numbers are up 6.6 per cent.
Only automotive dealers saw a higher increase in employment count, coming at a 7.1 per cent increase year to date.
“The two big automotive employers — dealerships and repair/maintenance facilities — both showed growth in 2021,” said Andrew King, managing partner of DAC. “However, if and when employment will return to historic levels remains an open question — as the industry adapts and evolves to meet new shopping patterns and consumer needs.”