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Building a Car — Got Census Data?

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Manufacturing is a vital sector of the economy. When the average consumer purchases a product, oftentimes the manufacturing process is an afterthought.

The U.S. Census Bureau has data on many aspects of the manufacturing industry ranging from employment and financial statistics, robotics expenditures and online sales.

The Annual Survey of Manufactures (ASM) is one of the primary Census Bureau programs that can offer many data sets from within the manufacturing sector. Released on an annual basis, the ASM has statistics on employment, cost of materials, inventories, capital expenditures and selected operating expenses. New to the ASM is the release of an experimental data product on robotics (robotics are an essential part of building motor vehicles and are used extensively).

According to 2019 ASM data, establishments in Michigan that were classified in the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code 3361  for Motor Vehicle Manufacturing had 41,364 employees, with an annual payroll of $2,959,495,000. The number of employees in this industry nationwide is 223,320, with an annual payroll of $17,492,913,000.

Consumer Confidence

To find data on the health of the economy, the Manufacturers’ Shipments, Inventories, and Orders survey (M3) is the place to go. The M3 is an economic indicator that provides timely data on a monthly basis. Historical data dating back to 1992 is available here.

Using the Time Series and Trend Charts to retrieve data from the M3 for the Automobile Manufacturing industry (NAICS 336111), the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic is evident. The 2020 seasonally-adjusted data (in millions of dollars) show a dip in value of shipments for automobile manufacturing.

Note: Data not adjusted for price changes. Statistical significance is not measurable for this survey. The Manufacturers' Shipments, Inventories and Orders estimates are not based on a probability sample, so the sampling error of these estimates cannot be measured, nor can the confidence intervals be computed.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Manufacturers’ Shipments, Inventories and Orders, November 3, 2021, <https://www.census.gov/manufacturing/m3/index.html>.

Parts and More…

The Census Bureau has data on the life cycle of manufacturing a car.

From manufacturing of parts, to the assembly of the automobile, to sales of the final product the availability of the North American Products Classification System (NAPCS) allows the user to find data based on the end product. For instance, data is available for both new and used automobiles.

International Trade

Domestic manufacturing of automobiles goes global with International Trade Statistics. Data on the import and export of automobiles are available on USA Trade Online.

With over 9,000 export and 18,000 import total commodities available, data related to many components of a car can be found.

Want More Manufacturing Data?

Explore the Census Academy to discover upcoming webinar and archived recordings.

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