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4.99 million jobless workers in US

That’s 4.99 million Americans without a job, so says Bloomberg.com. According to the news report this was the record of the unemployed as of last week. This data breaks a record for the fourth straight time and this only means that the job market is deteriorating. General Motors and Chrysler LLC added to the numbers as they reported that they will be cutting more jobs this year.

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Automotive sector in recession? Or maybe not.

The US automotive industry is in recession so says the Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn. Is this really happening? The Nissan CEO said this on his visit to South Korea and he stressed the spiralling cost of iron ore, precious metals and other materials. He added that the cost of acquiring these materials have dramatically risen for the fourth straight year. Another point that has been zero-ed in to drive the point was the significant drop in car sales in 2007. For 2007, US car and truck sales numbered 16.1 million units as compared to the 16.6 million unit performance for 2006. Rising prices, a slight sales drop and a recognition that the US economy may be teetering on recession prompted the Nissan CEO to make his opinion public.

But is this pronouncement a signal for the industry players to press the distress signal button? The CEO added that this recession may not actually lasts and the key is to re-direct one’s attention to other key markets. Ghosn referred to these markets as the ’emerging markets’ and narrated that these countries include Russia, China, India and Brazil.

No car manufacturer can ignore these markets, Ghosn said.

But what about the familiar markets that once dominated the sector, like the United States and Japan? The Nissan CEO added that these two markets have been stagnant for the past four years and the prospects for the current year is not good. If the Japanese and the American markets have hit a snag, then these emerging markets are the ones that show promise. Take the case of the Russian market, this European market expanded by around 25 percent last year together with Brazil. China followed suit and notched 23.4 percent and India grows at 20 percent. Russia’s emergence is underscored as its growth is expected to surpass that of Germany in the next two years as Europe’s leading market for cars.

This is just one opinion and the CEO for Honda offered a contrasting take on the scenario. Honda’s CEO Takeo Fukui believes otherwise  and still believes that there is still a ‘firm demand’ for vehicles in the US.