We’re hearing a lot of talk of how crucial the auto industry is for the country. Here  is a BLS study of recent employment trends that covers up until 2005. Employment is down dramatically since 2000, a reflection of outsourcing and productivity. In 2005, there were about a million workers in both assembly and parts. American-affiliated manufacturers employed 250,000 workers. The last three years have been very tough on employment in the auto indiustry. Current numbers are lower.