.

.

.

Jobs Outlook: Automotive Body and Related Repairers




Employment of automotive body repairers is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through the year 2012. The need to replace experienced repairers who transfer to other occupations or who retire or stop working for other reasons will account for the majority of job openings. Opportunities should be best for persons with formal training in automotive body repair and mechanics.

Demand for qualified body repairers will increase as the number of motor vehicles in operation continues to grow in line with the Nation’s population. With each rise in the number of motor vehicles in use, the number of vehicles damaged in accidents also will grow. New automobile designs increasingly have body parts made of steel alloys, aluminum, and plastics—materials that are more difficult to work with than are traditional steel body parts. In addition, new automotive designs of lighter weight are prone to greater collision damage than are older, heavier designs and, consequently, more time is consumed in repair.

However, increasing demand due to growth in the number of vehicles in operation will be somewhat tempered by improvements in the quality of vehicles and technological innovations that enhance safety and reduce the likelihood of accidents. Employment growth also will be limited by changes in body shop management that will increase productivity, reduce overhead expenses, and improve standardization. Larger shops will employ a team approach to repairs to decrease repair time and expand their volume of work. Insurers are increasingly looking to shop networks for repair services. In addition, demand for repair services will grow slowly as more vehicles are declared a total loss after accidents. In many such cases, the vehicles are not repaired because of the high cost of fixing the extensive damage that results when airbags deploy and of replacing the increasingly complex parts and electronic components of new vehicles.

Employment growth will continue to be concentrated in automotive repair and maintenance shops and automobile dealers. The automotive repair business is not very sensitive to changes in economic conditions, and experienced body repairers are rarely laid off. However, although major body damage must be repaired if a vehicle is to be restored to safe operating condition, repair of minor dents and crumpled fenders often can be deferred during an economic slowdown. In times of economic contractions, most employers will hire few new workers, some unprofitable body shops may go out of business, and some dealers might consolidate body shops.