According to a new study, the 2008-2009 auto bailouts saved 1.5 million jobs in the auto industry — meaning that each job cost the country less than $12,000 since 2009. In return, those employees have contributed more than $105 billion to the government in taxes — a net gain of nearly $59,000 apiece.
The study, conducted by the Center for Automotive Research and reported by NBC News evaluated the effect of the loans from the government to auto companies under the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP. The $79.7 billion loans, CAR found, prevented the immediate loss of 2.63 million jobs in 2009, of which 1.5 million people would still be out of work in 2010. By contrast, the entire job addition since January 2009 nationally stands at 2.34 million, including the estimated number of jobs added in November.
The country still hasn't regained all of the jobs lost since January 2008, as the chart below shows. (The red line is cumulative job totals; blue bars are monthly job loss/gain.) With those 1.5 million jobs missing, that hole would be 2.78 million jobs deep instead of 1.28 million.
The Treasury Department tracks the spending and repayment of TARP funds over time. Of the nearly $80 billion loaned to the car companies, only $10.9 billion is still considered outstanding as of this month, with $62.2 billion repaid. (The difference is largely in write-offs.) The government is just sold its remaining GM stock, absorbing most of that $10.9 billion loss.