Hiring in Steel Towns is Dead or Below the National Average

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Trump imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports in the name of supporting the American metal industry, but those tariffs have not contributed to any significant job creation and have cost jobs in other areas of the economy.

Hiring in the top steel-producing cities in America has fallen below that of the whole country and, moreover, employment in cities with a manufacturing base that depends on input from the metal industry saw employment decline.

From the Wall Street Journal:

Metro areas in the nation’s Rust Belt, like Youngstown, Ohio, and Huntington, W. Va., saw their employment decline in February and March from the previous year, while others, including Mobile, Ala., notched growth below the overall U.S.’s rate.

Four of the nation’s 10 metro areas with the largest share of jobs in steel manufacturing saw job declines of up to 1.35%, while the other six saw sluggish growth of about 0.7%, well below the nation’s 1.6% growth. [...]

Activity in U.S. factories decelerated recently in part due to disruptions and uncertainty surrounding tariffs, according to the Institute for Supply Management.

One business in the Boston Federal Reserve district said prices of “thin gauge foil” produced in China have risen threefold for him since the Trump administration ramped up tariff rhetoric, according to a recent Fed report.

Speaking of China, Trump's tariffs on metal imported from China have not been lifted and are not part of package of tariffs the Trump regime called off this week. Tariffs on Chinese metals are still on the books and China is still retaliating for that.

Some of Trump's tariffs on steel and aluminum have been delayed and the regime would probably tell you that's the reason hiring hasn't picked up, but I don't think we should expect to see more positive results if the tariffs are fully implemented.

It's important to remember that what's good for the metal industry isn't necessarily good for metal workers. The increased price of metal doesn't necessarily mean higher wages or new openings for employees. It could just as easily lead to industry owners squeezing more profit out of fewer workers.

If we really wanted to increase employment in the metal industry, the government could substantially increase demand by passing a national infrastructure bill. But that's just crazy talk.

  • muselet

    “Trade wars are good, and easy to win.”

    In the same way that suicide bombings are good and easy to win, perhaps.


  • ninjaf

    Tariffs didn’t create jobs? Gee, like the economists and experts didn’t predict that.

    Also, too, water is wet.

    And just you watch. These workers affected will go out and vote for Republicans in November because they’re “tired of living paycheck to paycheck” and watching “them taking our jerrrrbs!”