SLC Article

CSG South

The multi-faceted contributions of the arts and arts-related activities have not fully grasped the attention of a broad cross-section of American society. To many Americans, the arts are considered the enclave of a few high-profile cultural institutions and their elite patrons. To the contrary, beyond the intrinsic benefits of the arts—i.e., benefits that serve to enrich an individual’s life experiences, standard of living and learning—there is substantial research on the crucial role played by the arts in generating a significant level of broad-based economic growth in practically every corner of the country. Public funding for the arts suffers considerably during an economic downturn as governments cut back on spending but research demonstrates that a relatively miniscule legislative appropriation to the arts leads to economic flows that far exceed this investment.

In stark contrast to the difficult fiscal positions states such as Michigan and Ohio face—primarily as a result of the decreasing automobile sector there—the auto industry continues to flourish in the South, generating billions of dollars in economic impact and creating thousands of direct and indirect jobs.

CSG South

A great deal has been written about the complex and overwhelming challenges confronting the American automotive industry — mostly domiciled in the Midwest — in the last few decades. Researchers have demonstrated the rapidly shrinking portion of American-made new car and noncommercial light truck sales as a percentage of total U.S. sales: in 1997, the Big Three (General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler) accounted for 71 percent of new car and noncommercial light truck sales, while Asian automakers' sales totaled under 25 percent; by 2007, the Big Three's share had plunged to 51 percent while the Asian automakers' share had propelled to 42 percent. Toyota outsold GM in the first quarter of 2008 (2.41 million compared to 2.25 million) and there is speculation that 2008 will be the year when Toyota unseats GM in global sales.

Researchers have also noted the dire financial fortunes of the Big Three as they hemorrhage vast amounts of cash and battle a range of structural problems, including sizable pension and health care obligations. Concurrently, researchers have highlighted the thriving automobile sector in a number of Southern states, given the increasing number of foreign automakers establishing assembly plants in this part of the country. In stark contrast to the difficult fiscal positions of such states as Michigan and Ohio —primarily as a result of the contracting automobile sector — the industry continues to flourish in the South, generate billions of dollars in economic impact and create thousands of direct and indirect jobs.

In light of the negative effects of a slowing national economy, how is the industry currently faring in the South? Does it still continue to be a major player in the region's economic calculations? Learn how the automotive industry in the South is coping with the deteriorating national economy, one that is either already enmeshed or lurching very close to a recession.

CSG South

The domestic auto industry remains embroiled in a structural conversion that has resulted in layoffs for thousands, drooping sales figures and rising financial losses. Some distinct advantages, both financial and nonfinancial, in these Southern states lured foreign automakers in the last two decades or so, a move that has completely shifted the economic orientation of these Southern locales from largely agricultural to high-tech, manufacturing economies.

CSG South

The South continues to be a hotbed for the auto industry. It might have something to do with the ability for the industry to build lean manufacturing facilities from the ground up, accessibility to a regional cluster and compelling incentive packages to support investments.

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