China, India and Eastern Europe will increasingly take jobs away from the Western world's car workers over the next 10 years, as the automotive industry moves its parts-making operations from industrialized countries, the UN labor agency said Friday.
Factories in Japan, the US and Western Europe are becoming assemblers of finished cars from parts made in other countries, where labor costs are a fraction of those in the West, said the International Labor Organization in a 144-page study.
"The increasing importance of suppliers will benefit emerging markets, particularly Central and Eastern Europe, China and India, allowing them to increase their share of global components production," the report said.
Auto industry jobs will fall or stagnate in the big three auto-producing regions, but China's employment in the sector will rise 156 percent by 2015 and its workers producing auto parts will more than triple, the report said.
"The potential for companies in advanced countries to lower labor costs by outsourcing, coupled with the pressure to continuously reduce costs," means that the developing world is "where it is almost certain that employment in future years will increase the most," ILO said.
Many Western automobile producers "have begun to treat Chinese component costs as the global benchmark for their suppliers elsewhere," where auto-industry workers make anywhere from US$0.60 to US$1.30 an hour, ILO said.
Wages in the United States are up to 25 times higher.