The Who’s Better Off Game:Transport Production Workers

Earlier this year, the Bush administration floated the concept of counting fast food employees as manufacturing workers. Why? Perhaps because traditional production jobs — like car and truck builders — are harder and harder to find. True, if you’re going to be an assembly line worker, you’re better off at a carmaker than just about anywhere else. But that isn’t saying much…

Nationwide, carmakers added about 20,000 assembly-line jobs between 2000 and 2003. But they’re hard to find. In the two largest car-producing states, Michigan, and Ohio, assembly-line jobs dropped by 15 and 16 percent, respectively. And in California, where the auto industry actually employs more team assemblers than in any other state, jobs dropped by a whopping 21 percent. What’s more, incomes have slipped, too. In Michigan, real income for team assemblers dropped by more than 5 percent between 2000 and 2003, and in California and Ohio, real wages slipped by between 2.5 and 3 perecent.

Other auto industry employees are even worse off. Welders, for instance. Nationwide, there are almost 5 percent fewer welder jobs at auto plants than in 2000. And in some states, like Illinois, Pennsylvania and Ohio, the job loss has been staggering. In Ohio, there are almost 19 percent fewer welders employed in car and truck production than in 2000. In Illinois and Pennsylvania, the job loss is closer to 27 percent.


The more we thought about how MoJo's journalism can have the most impact heading into the 2020 election, the more we realized that so many of today's stories come down to corruption: democracy and the rule of law being undermined by the wealthy and powerful for their own gain.

So we're launching a new Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption. We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We'll publish what we find as a major series in the summer of 2020, including a special issue of our magazine, a dedicated online portal, and video and podcast series so it doesn't get lost in the daily deluge of breaking news.

It's unlike anything we've done before and we've got seed funding to get started, but we're asking readers to help crowdfund this new beat with an additional $500,000 so we can go even bigger. You can read why we're taking this approach and what we want to accomplish in "Corruption Isn't Just Another Scandal. It's the Rot Beneath All of Them," and if you like how it sounds, please help fund it with a tax-deductible donation today.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.