COVID-19

In Mexico, auto industry struggles to rev up operations

Rodrigo Cervantes Sep 24, 2020
Heard on: Marketplace Morning Report
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Auto industry activity is resuming at factories in Mexico. But, unions are concerned about working conditions. Mauricio Palos/AFP via Getty Images
COVID-19

In Mexico, auto industry struggles to rev up operations

Rodrigo Cervantes Sep 24, 2020
Auto industry activity is resuming at factories in Mexico. But, unions are concerned about working conditions. Mauricio Palos/AFP via Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Mexico and the United States are deeply connected by trade, with very close ties in the automotive industry. In mid-May, the sector started to reopen in Mexico after pressure from lobbying groups on both sides of the border.

A new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement took effect on July 1, 2020. It requires the auto industry to standardize workers’ salaries and use more materials that come from the three countries.

Miguel Barbeyto, Mazda Mexico’s president and CEO, said the company is getting ready for that, while dealing with protocols around the pandemic. “So, we need to work hard,” Barbeyto said.

But unions are concerned about current working conditions in auto plants.

Benedicto Martínez is a coordinator of Frente Auténtico del Trabajo, one of the unions in Mexico with members in the automotive industry. He said unions are watching the pandemic protocols carefully at factories.

Pedro Tello, an economic analyst in Mexico City, said reigniting the auto industry will help normalize the country’s economy. But he points out large companies in Mexico, like automakers, have not received any tax incentives or loans from the federal government, and that the country may lose companies and jobs.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

New COVID-19 cases and deaths in the U.S. are on the rise. How are Americans reacting?

Johns Hopkins University reports the seven-day average of new cases hit 68,767 on Sunday  — a record — eclipsing the previous record hit in late July during the second, summer wave of infection. A funny thing is happening with consumers though: Even as COVID-19 cases rise, Americans don’t appear to be shying away from stepping indoors to shop or eat or exercise. Morning Consult asked consumers how comfortable they feel going out to eat, to the shopping mall or on a vacation. And their willingness has been rising. Surveys find consumers’ attitudes vary by age and income, and by political affiliation, said Chris Jackson, who heads up polling at Ipsos.

How many people are flying? Has traveled picked up?

Flying is starting to recover to levels the airline industry hasn’t seen in months. The Transportation Security Administration announced on Oct. 19 that it’s screened more than 1 million passengers on a single day — its highest number since March 17. The TSA also screened more than 6 million passengers last week, its highest weekly volume since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. While travel is improving, the TSA announcement comes amid warnings that the U.S. is in the third wave of the coronavirus. There are now more than 8 million cases in the country, with more than 219,000 deaths.

How are Americans feeling about their finances?

Nearly half of all Americans would have trouble paying for an unexpected $250 bill and a third of Americans have less income than before the pandemic, according to the latest results of our Marketplace-Edison Poll. Also, 6 in 10 Americans think that race has at least some impact on an individual’s long-term financial situation, but Black respondents are much more likely to think that race has a big impact on a person’s long-term financial situation than white or Hispanic/Latinx respondents.

Find the rest of the poll results here, which cover how Americans have been faring financially about six months into the pandemic, race and equity within the workplace and some of the key issues Trump and Biden supporters are concerned about.

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