Economy

General Motors is Cutting Nearly 15,000 Jobs, Closing Five Factories

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Nearly 10 years after General Motors (GM) was bailed out by the Obama administration, the company announced this morning that they'll be closing up to five factories in North America including four in the United States and one factory in Canada.

The company attributes the closures to several factors including shifting production to electric vehicles and "costs" associated with Trump's trade war.

From the Washington Post:

General Motors will lay off 14,700 factory and white-collar workers in North America and put five plants up for possible closure as it restructures to cut costs and focus more on autonomous and electric vehicles.

The reduction includes 8,100 white-collar workers, some of whom will take buyouts and others who will be laid off. Most of the affected factories build cars that won’t be sold in the U.S. after next year. They could close or they could get different vehicles to build. They will be part of contract talks with the United Auto Workers union next year.

Plants without products include assembly plants in Detroit; Lordstown, Ohio; and Oshawa, Ontario. Also affected are transmission factories in Warren, Michigan, as well as Baltimore.

General Motors CEO Mary Barra told reporters this morning that they're taking these actions now because its "appropriate to do it" while the economy is still strong.

It's possible I'm reading too much into that, but it appears that GM believes a recession is coming and this is an attempt to get ahead of it.

Shutting down production of several low-selling vehicles to make way for the electric cars of the future was probably inevitable, but GM and other automakers are also contending with the consequences of Trump's trade war and his tariffs on foreign metal. Ford and GM have both reported that costs associated with Trump's trade war have increased by $1 billion.

Industry trade groups have warned that Trumps trade war will cost tens of thousands of jobs and this is what that looks like. And this is just the beginning. If these factories shut down, other businesses in the area that relied on traffic from their employees may also cut jobs or shut down.

Like every other corporation, General Motors was on the receiving end of the GOP's $1.5 trillion tax cut that clearly has not made any material difference in their business operations or investment plans. Although, to be fair, it's possible the tax cut encouraged the company to restructure and cut jobs.

Republican economics are garbage economics, or "voodoo" if you prefer.

  • muselet

    GM’s restructuring would have happened eventually, but the timing was accelerated because of the Trump Tariffs and the administration’s other economic fuckery.

    Plus, as Kevin Drum points out, sales of trucks and SUVs have increased while sales of cars have dropped because of lower gasoline prices, and that leads to shifts in production; also, average annual sales of all domestic light vehicles has dropped since 2015, which leads to plant closures.

    Donald Trump and his apologists and toadies will blame everyone but this White House for all of this. They will largely be wrong (try to contain your surprise).

    –alopecia

  • Aynwrong

    “We will have so much winning when I get elected that you will get bored with winning,” ~ Donald J.Trump

    https://media.giphy.com/media/x0kMYoT7J31i8/giphy.gif

  • Badgerite

    “Republican economics?” Oh. You mean bribery. There was no ‘economics’ behind their tax cut for the ultra well off.
    There was a raid on the public treasury while they had a con man in power to try to sell it and who couldn’t care less about working Americans.

  • gescove

    Trump yelled at a press gaggle before hopping on Marine One (it must not have been raining so it was able to fly) that he was “very disappointed in GM” and “{being very tough” on its CEO… so that will help. It couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the idiotic tariffs he enacted.

  • Considering how many years of steady growth we’ve had, we’re about due for a recession just due to the laws of cyclical economics. Trump’s policies are not helping, and threaten to worsen one if it happens.

  • Draxiar

    Yeah but he orders refugees to be tear gassed so…MAGA! I wonder if the autoworkers that voted for him find the tear gassing to be an acceptable compromise of their job.

  • Nefercat

    It can only be Hillary’s fault and that of foolish republicans who didn’t embrace trump’s love (or whatever that urp-inducing claim was) in the mid-terms.