Auto industry needs healthy workers, supply chains to keep up improved production – Marketplace


Manufacturing picked up strongly in June, rising over 7%, according to data from the Federal Reserve. And within those gains, auto production saw the biggest rise.

This is, however, last month we’re talking about, and COVID-19 cases are now picking up again throughout the country.

For an auto manufacturers to keep churning out cars, Kristin Dziczek at the Center for Automotive Research said, manufacturers need healthy demand, healthy supply chains and healthy workers.

“And the outbreaks of cases around the country right now could threaten any one of those three things,” she said.

Dziczek said consumer demand is holding up for now. But supply chains are starting to see some new disruptions. Last week, the Mexican government limited staffing capacity in the state of Chihuahua.

“And there’s a heck of a lot of suppliers there,” Dziczek said.

Health concerns could impact production in the U.S., regardless of whether states mandate production halts.

Independent auto analyst Maryann Keller said we could see some self-imposed shutdowns.

“If you haven’t got workers, you can’t operate a factory, no matter what you’re told to do,” Keller said.

Two weeks ago, the union at a GM factory in Texas asked the automaker to shut down the plant, citing the growing number of cases in the region.

GM said in a statement that the plant uses protocols designed to keep the coronavirus out of the facility.

What’s the latest on the extra COVID-19 unemployment benefits?

As of now, those $600-a-week payments will stop at the end of July. For many, unemployment payments have been a lifeline, but one that is about to end, if nothing changes. The debate over whether or not to extend these benefits continues among lawmakers.

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With a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases, are restaurants and bars shutting back down?

The latest jobs report shows that 4.8 million Americans went back to work in June. More than 30% of those job gains were from bars and restaurants. But those industries are in trouble again. For example, because of the steep rise in COVID-19 cases in Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, increased restrictions on restaurant capacities and closed bars. It’s created a logistical nightmare.

Which businesses got Paycheck Protection Program loans?

The numbers are in — well, at least in part. The federal government has released the names of companies that received loans of $150,000 or more through the Paycheck Protection Program.

Some of the companies people are surprised got loans include Kanye West’s fashion line, Yeezy, TGI Fridays and P.F. Chang’s. The companies you might not recognize, particularly some smaller businesses, were able to hire back staff or partially reopen thanks to the loans.

You can find answers to more questions on unemployment benefits and COVID-19 here.

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