Bulletin: Auto Quality Issues, Health Care Costs

Automotive Quality Issues Could Lead To Layoffs
As U.S., Japanese and European officials continue to probe recent quality issues with Toyota’s line of products, the nation’s parts manufacturers may find themselves under increased pressure amid falling profits. In addition to Toyota’s troubles, auto manufacturers in Michigan, including Yazaki Corp. of Canton and Denso International America of Southfield were included in a separate inquiry as part of an anticompetitive investigation, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal, as was Tokai Rika Co. of Plymouth. Last year, employers in the automotive sector announced 52,271 layoffs in 2009 and over 4,000 layoffs were announced in the auto industry in January, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

As Health Care Summit Begins, New Survey Reveals Employers’ Pain
With President Obama and lawmakers from both sides of the aisle meeting today in a summit on health care, a new survey of employers further demonstrates the need for reform, as a growing number of companies losing confidence in their ability to provide health care benefits in the future. In the survey, conducted by the National Business Group on Health and Towers Watson & Co. and reported on by Workforce.com, only 57 percent of employers said they are very confident they will continue to offer health care benefits 10 years from now, down from 62 percent in 2009 and 73 percent in 2007. The survey also found that 83 percent of employers either have made significant changes or expect to revamp their health care strategies in the next two years, up from 59 percent in 2009. As more companies are compelled to lower or drop coverage, more and more Americans will join the ranks of the uninsured and underinsured. Should the U.S. move away from the tradition of employer-paid health insurance or should lawmakers be finding ways to make it easier for employers to provide coverage? What steps are some employers taking in attempts to keep health care costs under control?

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