The distortion was caused by the conspiracy between govt and unions. At the time, this was barely skilled labor. I can personally attest to this by virtue of briefly working for Firestone in Wyandotte, MI in 1972. Never did I have a job that so convinced me to achieve a higher education than that job. As labor and legacy costs continued to increase via union contract, manufacturers sought ways to reduce those escalating costs and used mechanization. This was resisted by unions vigorously. But for the UAW, United Steelworkers, etc., we'd probably be driving technologically superior cars/trucks made almost exclusively by robots at higher quality and less cost.