Thursday, October 22, 2020

The Offshoring of U.S. Jobs Increased on Trump's Watch [feedly]

The Offshoring of U.S. Jobs Increased on Trump's Watch

President Donald Trump's great economic promise in the 2016 elections was to stop the offshoring of American jobs. So has it worked?

That's not an easy question to answer. Companies tend not to loudly announce when they shut down a factory or office in the U.S. and move production and jobs overseas. Particularly in the days of Trump tweets.

But there is one fairly good barometer in the data kept by the U.S. Department of Labor on applications for Trade Adjustment Assistance, the federal aid program for workers dislocated by the effects of trade. Those petitions importantly can be filed by workers and local government officials as well as firms. They are all investigated and certified by the Labor Department, which tries to establish to which country the jobs are heading.

Trade Adjustment Assistance Petitions by U.S. Auto Companies

If you dive into the data, as we did for this story on how a company founded by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has been closing factories in the U.S. and shifting production overseas even as he serves in Trump's Cabinet, you find some interesting tidbits:

  • Between Trump's inauguration day and the end of June this year, the Labor Department certified 1,996 petitions related to companies shifting work overseas. Those petitions covered 184,888 jobs in fields ranging from manufacturing to back-office functions for financial services companies. In other words, offshoring didn't stop in the Trump administration.
  • For the equivalent period of President Barack Obama's second term, the Labor Department actually certified fewer petitions covering fewer jobs. (1,811 petitions affecting 172,336 jobs). Which in theory means 12,552 more jobs left the U.S. in the first three-and-a-half years of the Trump presidency than did in the equivalent period of the presidential term immediately before.
  • A central promise of Trump's renegotiated Nafta, renamed the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, is that it has stricter auto content rules meant to keep more factories in the U.S. One new provision requires 40% of a car to come from factories that pay $16/hour or more, for example. Those rules won't fully be in effect until 2025. But fear of them certainly isn't stopping some parts companies from shifting work overseas. In the first six months of this year — in decisions often made before the pandemic — 17 different companies cut jobs at 25 different plants in the U.S. to shift work overseas, according to the Labor Department data. In some cases they have closed plants altogether. Among the firms doing so: Ross' one-time company, International Automotive Components, which he sold out of when he joined the Trump administration.

Shawn Donnan in Washington

Charted Territory

relates to The Offshoring of U.S. Jobs Increased on Trump's Watch

As the U.S.-China confrontation takes root, the ability to craft chips for everything from artificial intelligence and data centers to autonomous cars and smartphones has become an issue of national security, injecting government into business decisions over where to manufacture chips and to whom to sell them. Those tensions could kick into overdrive as Communist Party leaders set a five-year plan that includes developing China's domestic technology industry, notably its chip capabilities. 

 -- via my feedly newsfeed

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