See a few extra employees at your local car dealership? That's because employment in the auto industry has reached a nearly 5 1/2-year high. Automakers and auto-parts suppliers employed 846,400 Americans in January 2014, according to seasonally adjusted preliminary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That's up nearly 47,000 from January 2013. Car dealers employed another 1.16 million Americans, up 42,000 from a year ago. Both figures are the highest since August 2008.
Still, there might just be more dealers setting up shop — or reopening — in your local auto mall. The National Auto Dealers Association says 17,540 franchised dealers (e.g., Joe's Chevrolet) existed in 2012, its latest year on record. That's down from 20,770 dealers in 2008, but the figures don't include independent dealers (e.g., Joe's Used Cars).
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