President Trump loves to talk about jobs.
“JOBS, JOBS, JOBS!” he tweeted in February.
“JOBS! JOBS! JOBS!” he added in April.
He emphasized the point earlier this month, tweeting, “JOBS, JOBS, JOBS!”
Donald Trump was back at it again on Wednesday, touting news that GM is selling its Lordstown, Ohio, plant to a company that will make “Electric Trucks,” as well as GM’s new plans to invest in the state and the 450 new jobs it will create. GM confirmed the plant’s sale to the New York Times. It also confirmed the investment plan, although it did not offer specifics about how much it intends to spend or how many jobs would be created as a result.
….in 3 separate locations, creating another 450 jobs. I have been working nicely with GM to get this done. Thank you to Mary B, your GREAT Governor, and Senator Rob Portman. With all the car companies coming back, and much more, THE USA IS BOOMING!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 8, 2019
In November, the automotive giant announced plans to halt production a five North American factories and lay off nearly 15,000 employees. One of the plants tapped to close was its facility in Lordstown, which manufactured the Chevy Cruze. Trump responded by demanding GM “get a car that is selling well and put it back in.”
Though Trump has leaned heavily on claims that he is infusing company after company with new jobs, there’s reason to be skeptical. According to a report from ProPublica, the president is only responsible for 0.008 percent of the jobs he claims to have created, or 797 out of the 8.9 million jobs he’s said are on the way.
We called around to find out if Trump’s job creation claims are, in fact, legitimate.
If a company said he was a contributing factor, we gave him credit.
Only 797 jobs out the supposed 8.9 million are attributable to him.
Only .008% of *his* claims. https://t.co/hquY7CnnJ5
— ProPublica (@propublica) May 8, 2019
Many of the new jobs Trump claims to have created were never actually created. Others were created, but not because of anything Trump did; they’d already been planned before he took office.
In total, ProPublica examined 35 job-creation claims Trump has made. Some of them are from just after he was elected, like when in December of 2016 he said Carrier had “stepped it up” and promised 1,100 new jobs in Indiana (the company created or saved 800 jobs as a result of negotiations that began before Trump was the Republican nominee). Others are more recent, like last July when Trump said the Oklahoma-based Commercial Metals Company was going to create 300 jobs (the 250 jobs the company did create had been announced in 2015).
Other notable claims debunked include when in 2017 Trump said he was “thrilled to announce ” a commitment from Charter Communications to add 20,000 new jobs (the jobs were actually announced in 2015); when in the same year Trump said that agreements stemming from his trip to the G7 summit would “conservatively” result in a “minimum of one million jobs” (18,000 jobs may come at a later day); and when in February he claimed his daughter Ivanka created 6.5 million jobs through the Pledge to America’s Workers (they are actually opportunities for retraining and continuing education, not new jobs).
Trump has also claimed his widely maligned import tariffs are creating jobs, but the devastation they have caused across a number of industries has far outweighed any job creation that has resulted from “bringing Steel and Aluminum industries BACK” to America.
Congrats to @U_S_Steel for investing $1+ BILLION in America's most INNOVATIVE steel mill. 232 Tariffs make Pennsylvania and USA more prosperous/secure by bringing Steel and Aluminum industries BACK. Tariffs are working. Pittsburgh is again The Steel City. USA Economy is BOOMING! https://t.co/XPXjxli6uc
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 2, 2019
As the Washington Post pointed out on Tuesday, for every job Trump’s steel tariffs create, American consumers are paying $900,000 — the result of prices skyrocketing due to the taxes manufacturers must now pay to import raw materials. For example, a recent study from researchers at the University of Chicago and the Federal Reserve Board found that the average cost of a washing machine has risen by nearly $100 since Trump first imposed steel and aluminum in January of 2018.
A host of other products have been affected similarly, and it’s probably going to get worse before it gets better. On Monday, Trump threatened to raise the already-high tariffs he placed on $200 million in Chinese goods. “We’re moving backwards instead of forwards, and in the president’s view that’s not acceptable,” U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told reporters. “Over the last week or so, we have seen an erosion in commitments by China.”
For all of Trump’s talk of his job-creating prowess, the rate at which the United States is adding new jobs has actually slowed down since he took office. As ProPublica notes, 188,542 were added per month the two years since Trump was inaugurated. During President Obama’s last two years in office, the economy produced an average of 202,417 jobs per month. The statistic underscores the reality of whatever success Trump may have when it comes to creating jobs: that it’s largely due to the strong economy he inherited from his predecessor.