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June 20, 2010 12:00 AM

SUVs boost sales at GM and Ford; Auto worker labor shortage possible


The Ford Edge (Ford)


The Chevrolet Equinox (General Motors)

SUVs drive sales boost at GM, Ford
General Motors and Ford posted U.S. sales increases in May that topped analysts' estimates as higher consumer confidence and inexpensive gasoline spurred customers to buy more SUVs. GM's overall sales were up 17 percent and Ford's were up 22 percent from a year earlier. Gas prices that have stayed less than $3 a gallon boosted sales of Chevrolet Equinox and Ford Edge sport utility vehicles. Equinox sales more than tripled to 13,134 vehicles in May, while Edge sales increased 43 percent to 13,660.

--The Associated Press


Assembly line employees work on the body of a 2010 Ford F-150 at the Ford Dearborn Truck Plant in Dearborn, Mich., in January. (Paul Sancya / The Associated Press)

Auto worker drought possible in near future
It seems counterintuitive, but the auto industry could face a labor shortage within the next few years, says the Center for Automotive Research. While 228,000 auto jobs have been shed in the past two years, the industry is poised to add about 15,000 this year and could need up to 100,000 new workers through 2013. However, the new jobs will likely require computer skills, the ability to work with less supervision than their predecessors and education beyond high school, leading to fewer qualified applicants.

--The Associated Press