Auto and light truck sales for September was just reported at a rather strong 14.96 million units. This puts sales back above the strong trend line for this recovery.
But it might be more interesting to look at production that has also been very strong.
Since production bottomed during the cash for clunkers program industrial production of autos and light trucks has risen more that 150% . Remember, the original rational for the cash for clunkers program was to reduce excess inventories so that the auto firms would expand production.
But an even more interesting comparison is to compare total vehicle output — including light and heavy trucks as well as parts — to employment in the production of motor vehicles. Total output is now at new all time record highs, surpassing the early 2000s peak. But employment in the motor vehicle industry is now 780,700 as compared to 1,330,000 in February, 2000 and 651,100 at the recession bottom. So since the recession bottom employment in the industry is up 21% while production is up over 150%.