‘There’s more uncertainty, not less’: Recession fears are already gripping parts of the US — and jeopardizing Trump’s reelection
President Donald Trump, during a recent speech in New Hampshire, told a crowd that no matter how much they might dislike him, they “have no choice” but to reelect him in 2020 in order to save the U.S. economy and keep their 401(k) plans from tanking. Some pundits have argued that whatever happens with Trump on immigration, abortion or foreign policy, the economy could save his presidency in the end. But a report by Shawn Donnan for Bloomberg News explains that with more and more evidence that the U.S. economy is slowing down, the economy might not be Trump’s strong point in the 2020 election.
“The surge in industrial jobs seen in the first two years of the Trump presidency has also gone into reverse in some parts of the country,” Donnan reports. “Nationally, the U.S. has added 44,000 manufacturing jobs so far this year, according to data released on Friday. But that’s way down from the 170,000 added in the same period last year.”
Donnan reports that “for all the debate on whether the U.S. is headed for a recession, there’s plenty of evidence that corners of the economy….. may already have tumbled into one.” And Donnan points to the area of Wisconsin where Kuhn North America is located as an example: at Kuhn North America, which has about 600 employees in its factory and manufactures farm equipment, roughly 250 workers were suffering a two-week furlough around Labor Day Weekend.
Donnan goes on to observe that according to data reported by the Economic Innovation Group, employment in factories fell in 22 states during the first seven months of 2019 — and that includes “electorally important ones like Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.” The Keystone State, Donnan notes, “lost more than 8000 manufacturing jobs in the first seven months of this year” but goes on to report that “nationally, the U.S. has not yet seen a collapse in factory jobs.”
Indeed, Pennsylvania is a crucial part of Trump’s 2020 Rust Belt strategy. In 2016, Trump became the first Republican to carry Pennsylvania in a presidential race since George H.W. Bush in 1988, but 2018 was a good year for Democrats in Pennsylvania: Gov. Tom Wolf and Sen. Bob Casey, Jr. enjoyed landslide reelections.
Wisconsin is another Rust Belt state that Trump flipped in 2016: Wisconsin hadn’t gone GOP in a presidential race since President Ronald Reagan’s reelection victory in 1984. But a decrease in factory jobs in that state, Donnan stresses, could benefit a Democratic candidate in the Rust Belt next year.
Donnan points to 56-year-old Greg Petras, president of Kuhn North America, as a 2016 Trump voter, Wisconsin resident and lifelong Republican who expects to be voting Democrat in 2020’s presidential election.
“There’s more uncertainty, not less uncertainty,” Petras told Bloomberg News. “It’s not a good economy at all.”