Since 1987, the number of people employed in the motor vehicle parts industry has exceeded the number employed in the motor vehicle assembly industry.
In 1979, the motor vehicle parts and assembly industries were comparable in terms of employment: 441,100 in parts and 463,000 in assembly. During the recession of 1981-82, employment was reduced sharply in both industries.
Since the 1981-82 recession, the number of employees in the parts industry has grown in every year except two, while the number of employees in the assembly industry has increased in 8 of 16 years. From 1987 forward, there have been more workers in parts than in assembly. By 1998, there were 546,800 workers in the parts industry, and 341,800 in the assembly industry.
In a third motor-vehicles-related industry, automotive stampings, employment in 1998 was little changed from 1979. There were 117,600 workers in automotive stampings in 1979, and 114,100 in 1998.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Shifts in auto industry employment, 1979-98 at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/1999/sept/wk5/art02.htm (visited August 18, 2022).