Economy

Make Blue America Great Again

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

While wages are effectively flat if not declining as inflation and the cost of living rises, the economy has continued to add jobs at a healthy pace ever since President Obama left office. But where are the jobs being added?

The Associated Press took a look at the numbers and found that nearly 60 percent of new jobs added over the past year can be found in counties that voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Meanwhile, nearly 40 percent of counties that voted for Trump have lost jobs, not added them.

On average for the year-ended this May, 58.5 percent of the job gains were in counties that backed Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016, according to an Associated Press analysis of monthly government jobs data by county.

Despite an otherwise robust national economy, the analysis shows that a striking number of Trump counties are losing jobs. The AP found that 35.4 percent of Trump counties have shed jobs in the past year, compared with just 19.2 percent of Clinton counties. [...]

Job growth in Trump’s economy is still concentrated in the same general places as it was toward the end of Barack Obama’s presidency – when roughly 58.7 percent of the average annual job gains were in Democratic counties.

This helpfully illustrates why Trump's economic promises have always been a lie and why his trade war isn't going to turn things around for anyone.

In fact, the two are contradictory. Trump has long claimed that he'll turn things around for "real Americans" in places like the Rust Belt, but his trade war is likely going to widen the divide between job creation in Democratic districts and job losses in Republican districts where manufacturing and agricultural businesses depend far more heavily on trade.

And we haven't even seen Trump's worst yet. Another $200 to $500 billion in additional tariffs on Chinese goods and/or tariffs on cars and car parts will do tremendous damage red state economies that depend on automobile manufacturing and businesses like Wal-Mart.

If we're looking at job growth on a county-by-county basis, there are plenty of counties that voted for Trump where Wal-Mart is the largest source of business and employment. And people in these areas probably have no idea what's coming, especially not if they've taken Trump's word for it.

I feel like I'd remiss to not point out that this illustrates why the Left is also wrong about trade. This divide between job creation in cities and job losses in rural counties isn't going to change when Trump is out of office or when the next Democrat or independent candidate takes office even if it were Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders himself. It's only going to accelerate as more jobs at automated out of existence altogether. Moreover, a trade war is going to accelerate automation as firms try to cut costs by eliminating labor.

Protectionism in the future global economy will be a suicide pact.

  • Arthur Croft

    An actual $2 trillion overhaul of the entire American infrastructure would change all that and help re-connect the entire country on a myriad of levels: culturally, economically and socially. R’s and conservatives, of course, don’t want that.

    So it will never happen as it is too beneficial and logical an idea to actually be executed in a country like the contemporary US.

  • muselet

    The divide between job creation in urban and rural areas will change only if the federal government—whisper it—acts to change it, and not just by not starting trade wars.

    If someone were seriously to propose such an action, Rs would shriek and howl and posture and repeat deficit! as a conjuring word (even though it would be their own most reliable voters receiving help), while Ds would—if the proposal were even remotely sensible—overwhelmingly support it (even though it would mostly benefit R voters). And as far as robots taking all our jobs, well, that’s going to happen in the medium-term (20–30 years, is my guess), and it behooves us to ponder the consequences—economic and social—of that change sooner rather than later.

    However, we’ll probably ignore the looming mountain and perform a perfect economic and social Controlled Flight Into Terrain, then stand in the debris field, squabbling over whose fault the crash was, ’cause that’s what we tend to do.

    –alopecia