Trump's trade war is driving up unemployment in key 2020 battleground states

Trump's trade war is driving up unemployment in key 2020 battleground states
President Donald Trump delivers remarks at the American Center for Mobility, Ypsilanti, Michigan, Wednesday, March, 15, 2017. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

Unemployment remains low nationwide, but it’s starting to tick up in a some key places—places dependent on the industries hit hard by Donald Trump’s trade war, and places that just happen to be in battleground states.


In around one in three counties in the United States, unemployment is higher than it was a year ago. That’s a troubling sign, but what may be most significant is that every county in Wisconsin, which Trump narrowly won in 2016, and every county in New Hampshire, which Hillary Clinton narrowly won in 2016, are among those one in three. The same is true of a majority of counties in Michigan, Minnesota, and North Carolina. (The same is also true of some states that won’t be 2020 battlegrounds.)

Analysts differ on what impact rising unemployment might have on Trump’s reelection chances. On the one hand, “In a 2017 analysis, Georgetown University economists modeled how swing-state county unemployment impacted the presidential vote, and found what Georgetown’s Dennis Quinn said in an email was ‘a significant penalty from rising unemployment, especially in swing states like Wisconsin.’” But on the other hand, the director of the Michigan Economic Center says that “I don’t think they will blame Trump for it. They are more likely to keep lashing out at immigrants and others.”

Whatever the political fallout, right now, a food pantry in Marinette, Wisconsin, has seen the number of people needing its services rise by 600 in just six months. That points to rising human suffering, which needs to be fought regardless of who the people in question plan to vote for.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

Close