If you are an American worried about your local factory losing jobs, better not let Donald Trump find out.
Four reasons why:
In February, the US president visited the Boeing factory in North Charleston, SC. “We are going to fight for every last American job,” he declared at the rollout of the Dreamliner 787-10 passenger jet. He added, “jobs is one of the primary reasons I’m standing here today as your president, and I will never, ever disappoint you. Believe me, I will not disappoint you.”
On Thursday (June 22), Boeing announced 200 jobs would be eliminated at the plant, as it faces stiff competition from its European rival Airbus.
In December, president-elect Trump visited the Carrier plant in Indianapolis, Indiana, to express his glee at a deal to keep 1,100 jobs there that had been slated to go to Mexico. “And by the way, that number is going to go up very substantially as they expand this area,” Trump said. “So the 1,100 is going to be a minimum number.” He added, “These companies are not going to be taking people’s hearts out. They are not going to be announcing, like they did at Carrier, that they are closing up and moving to Mexico.”
On Thursday, CNBC reported that more than 600 employees at the plant will be losing their jobs, as the deal did not work out as advertised. Last month, the company told Indiana officials about 800 factory employees would still have jobs when the layoffs end.
In December, Trump took notice of an industrial-bearings manufacturer’s plan to lay off its Indianapolis employees:
Well, not exactly. In late March, as noted by the Los Angeles Times, the company nevertheless started the shuttering process.
On Thursday, it was reported that the closing is coming in September. Plant union president Don Zering told the Associated Press that production by the remaining 110 workers goes on only because factories in Mexico and McAllen, Texas—quite close to the border—aren’t yet prepared to do the work.
In January, Ford, the second-largest US automaker, pulled back on its plan to build a new plant in Mexico for the next generation of the Focus, a small-car model, a move that came after criticism from the president-elect. The new Focus instead would be manufactured at an existing plant in Mexico, Ford said.
On June 20, Ford announced it will build the new Focus, not in the US or Mexico, but in China.
There was no response from the president. He left that task to his Commerce secretary, who added a new optimistic twist in the face of the disappointing news.
“The Ford decision shows how flexible multinational companies are in terms of geography,” Wilbur Ross said. “I believe that as President Trump’s policies and reforms take hold, more companies will begin to locate their facilities in the US as several German and Japanese automakers already have.”
The Detroit Free Press observed that Ross’s cheery statement “lacked any of the bellicose remarks made by candidate Trump about what he would do to manufacturers.”
So no worries, America. It turns out the world is a complicated place that requires subtlety to navigate. The White House is on it.
This story has been updated to clarify the details of Ford’s January announcement about its manufacturing plans in Mexico.