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Expand chart
Data: BLS, Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages; Get the data; Map: Andrew Witherspoon, Chris Canipe/Axios

Michigan has lost the most auto manufacturing jobs over the past 18 years, while auto manufacturing in southern states has flourished, according to an Axios analysis of federal jobs data.

The bottom line: Michigan had the most jobs to lose, and automakers are increasingly attracted to states where workers are less unionized and wages are lower.

Automakers "don't want to compete for workers" and want to be the employer of choice for manufacturing jobs, the Center for Automotive Research's Kristin Dziczek told Axios. And they don't have to compete as much in southern states, where their nearest rival might be hundreds of miles away.

  • Toyota and Volvo this year announced plans to open new plants in Alabama and South Carolina, respectively.
  • General Motors said last month it would halt production at four U.S. plants, putting over 3,000 jobs at risk.
Expand chart
Data: BLS, Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon, Chris Canipe/Axios

By the numbers: Since the auto industry's most recent labor peak in the early 2000s — the only time frame for which complete state data was available — 15 states saw auto manufacturing job growth. Six of them were in the south.

  • Alabama added the most auto manufacturing jobs.
  • Honda, Kia, Mercedes Benz, Toyota and other foreign auto part suppliers have plants in Alabama. But some of those plants have low pay and extremely dangerous working conditions in the factories, as Bloomberg reported last year.

Yes, but: The South is not the only region where foreign automakers operate.

  • One example is Honda, which opened a plant in Alabama in 2001 but has operated factories in Ohio since the 1980s. Currently, Honda has 3 Ohio factories that employ around 7,000 people, per Honda's most recent annual report — making up 6% of all auto manufacturing jobs in the state.

What's next: One automaker is going against the trend. Fiat Chrysler said it plans to open a new factory in Detroit, the first new U.S. plant by a domestic carmaker in a decade, which could add at least 1,800 jobs in Michigan.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Judge nixes Gulf of Mexico oil leases in climate-focused ruling

Tug boats prepare to tow the semi-submersible drilling platform Noble Danny Adkins through the Port Aransas Channel into the Gulf of Mexico on December 12, 2020 in Port Aransas, Texas. Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images

A federal judge on Thursday canceled the Biden administration's late 2021 sale of new oil-and-gas drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico.

Why it matters: The ruling that the greenhouse gas emissions analysis by the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) was insufficient is a win for green groups that challenged the decision, as they seek to curb fossil fuel production.

45 million Americans under winter storm watches near New England

Computer model projection showing the winds moving around the powerful East Coast storm on Saturday Jan. 29, 2022. Credit: https://earth.nullschool.net

Nearly 45 million Americans are under winter weather alerts and warnings from North Carolina to northeastern Maine Thursday night, as a major winter storm threatens the region.

Why it matters: It is predicted to be the biggest blizzard since 2018 to strike the Northeast with more than 2 feet of snow possible in parts of eastern Massachusetts, according to the National Weather Service.

4 hours ago - World

Zelensky questions U.S. warnings of "imminent" invasion in Biden call

Biden and Zelensky at the White House last October. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty

President Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had a back-and-forth in their call this evening about just how "imminent" the threat of a Russian invasion might be, according to three sources briefed on the call.

Why it matters: Biden has said previously that he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin will probably "move in" to Ukraine, and White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday afternoon that "an invasion could come at any time."