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Expand chart
Data: Bureau of Economic Analysis; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Foreign automakers and suppliers now employ more U.S. workers than domestic carmakers do, according to fresh data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Why it matters: The American auto industry is not the Detroit-based monolith it used to be. The shifting landscape now counts Chrysler as part of the Dutch giant Stellantis and Tesla as one of America's Big Three. Meanwhile, global carmakers and suppliers have been steadily expanding their U.S. manufacturing footprints.

By the numbers: About 51% of the 999,000 U.S. workers in the motor vehicles and parts manufacturing sector are employed by companies based in other countries, according to BEA data through 2019, the latest available.

  • That's up from 34% in 2009.
  • Auto suppliers, the vast majority of which are foreign-based, account for many of those jobs, notes the Center for Automotive Research.

What they're saying: “This is all driven by investment," Nancy McLernon, president and CEO of the Global Business Alliance, tells Axios. "Global automakers are making big bets on U.S. manufacturing because we have a huge consumer market, a skilled workforce and a strong business climate."

Details: Toyota, Mazda, Honda, Volkswagen, Volvo, BMW, Mercedes and Hyundai have all added jobs in the last few years.

  • Some are using their U.S. factories for exports. BMW, for example, exported almost 219,000 vehicles from the U.S. in 2020.
  • Fear of tariffs on imported vehicles and parts under the former Trump administration also contributed to global carmakers' growing U.S. footprint, industry sources tell Axios.

The bottom line: It's not just autos, McLernon says.

  • 69% of all new U.S. manufacturing jobs added in the past five years were created by global companies.

Go deeper

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Labor unions represent a larger percentage of U.S. workers than at any time in the past five years, as the pandemic took its biggest bite out of non-unionized jobs.

Why it matters: America's labor movement isn't quite resurgent, but it is showing signs of life after decades of decline.

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China vows end to building coal-fired power plants abroad

Chinese President Xi Jinping. Photo: Mary Altaffer - Pool/Getty Images

Chinese President Xi Jinping told the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday that his country "will not build new coal-fired power projects abroad" and plans to boost support for clean energy in developing nations.

Why it matters: The pledge, if maintained, would mark a breakthrough in efforts to transition global power away from the most carbon-emitting fuel.

House Democrats strip Iron Dome money from government funding bill

Photographer: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

House Democrats on Tuesday stripped $1 billion for Israel's Iron Dome defense system from its short-term government funding bill after backlash from progressives, people familiar with the decision tell Axios.

Why it matters: There has never a situation where military aid for Israel was held up because of objections from members of Congress. While the funding will get a vote in its current defense bill, the clash underscores the deep divisions within the Democratic party over Israel.