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Report: Auto industry drives local job growth

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By Olivia Ober

Indiana has added more than 19,000 new auto manufacturing jobs since June 2009 as the nation overall has added nearly a quarter million jobs in the sector, according to a new report.

The report from DrivingGrowth.org, a website backed by environmental groups that tracks the progress of the U.S. auto industry, found that fuel efficiency innovations are a major factor behind the job growth that has occurred since the industry hit rock bottom in June 2009.

In Indiana, auto manufacturing jobs have accounted for one third of the state's total job gains since June 2009 and some of those positions will be focused on so-called green technologies.

The 2012 Honda Civic hybrid. Photo courtesy of Honda. Honda is investing $40 million and hiring 300 new workers at its facility in Greensburg. The plant is the sole global producer of the Honda Civic hybrid that will be exported to markets worldwide from the Hoosier state.

"Setting strong fuel efficiency standards means we are sending more of our energy dollars to the Midwest, not the Middle East," said Tiffany Ingram, Midwest advocacy director for National Resources Defense Council, which sponsors the website with the National Wildlife Federation and Michigan League of Conservation Voters Education Fund.

"Global automakers are now sourcing their most advanced, high-tech manufacturing here in the United States, creating a more sustainable and secure future for U.S. industry and U.S. workers," Ingram said.

Manufacturing of motor vehicles and parts has grown by more than 165,000 - or about 26.4 percent - since June 2009, giving automakers and their suppliers some hope after national economic recession. More than 71,000 jobs have also been added at auto dealerships across the country.

Olivia Ober is a reporter for The Statehouse File, a news service powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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