The Great Job Exodus Is Upon Us: Trump's Promise to Save American Labor Is Already a Bust
One of the many impossible promises Donald Trump made on the campaign trail was that he, and he alone, would be able to stem the tide of American jobs moving overseas. Though it was on its face a lie as unbelievable and untenable as all the other lies, it only further solidified Trump’s “America First” bonafides with his base.
Fast-forward to nearly 100 days into Trump's presidency, and his casting of himself as a hybrid strongman-miracle worker seems only slightly less absurd than his supporters' continued belief in this invention. Not only has Trump not been the great job savior he proclaimed himself, but thousands of jobs continue to flow to places like Mexico and China.
One day after he vowed to exit NAFTA, a ThinkProgress analysis found that “since Trump was sworn in on January 20, at least 11,934 American jobs have either been moved abroad or are in the process of leaving the country.” The figure is based on data from the Department of Labor Trade Adjustment Assistance program, but since there’s no agency or organization that keeps exact tabs on the number of jobs leaving America for cheaper environs abroad, “the actual number is almost certainly much higher."
ThinkProgress' investigation is aligned with recent reports of individual companies shipping thousands of jobs beyond America’s borders. A Bloomberg report from March found that:
Illinois Tool Works Inc. will close an auto-parts plant in Mazon, Illinois, this month and head to Ciudad Juarez. Triumph Group Inc. is reducing the Spokane, Washington, workforce that makes fiber-composite parts for Boeing Co. aircraft and moving production to Zacatecas and Baja California. TE Connectivity Ltd. is shuttering a pressure-sensor plant in Pennsauken, New Jersey, in favor of a facility in Hermosillo.
Trump’s method for attempting to keep jobs in the country was simply to yell at manufacturers, often via social media where he assumed public pressure and bad press would outweigh the lure of enhanced profits and even less regulation. He was, predictably, wrong. Though Trump has repeatedly tried to take credit for saving thousands of jobs across the country, he’s failed to persuade company heads to stay put. And in cases where businesses have pulled back on plans to send jobs to other countries, Trump has had nothing to do with the decision-making process.
Indianapolis-based firm Rexnord is moving 300 jobs to Monterrey, Mexico, despite a December tweet by Trump meant to shame the company into staying. That company is located just up the road from Carrier, the air conditioning manufacturer Trump falsely claimed to have bribed into keeping 1,100 jobs in its home state. Like nearly every victory claimed by the president, it too was a lie. As CNN Money notes, only 800 factory jobs were saved while 500 are still being shifted south.
Trump’s falsehood moved a local union leader to declare POTUS had “lied his ass off.”
“Trump and Pence, they pulled a dog and pony show on the numbers,” Chuck Jones, president of the local steelworkers union, told the Washington Post. “I almost threw up in my mouth.”
The ThinkProgress investigation found that jobs are being lost nationwide, “from Maine to Florida, from Arizona to Wisconsin,” in fields beyond the factory, such as “medicine, technology, even finance.” As Trump continues to drive money out of the economy and drive sales figures down for various industries (likely costing the U.S. billions in lost tourism, for example), the job exodus will likely continue.