Trump's tariffs on aluminum have hit the American beer industry hard over the past two years.
The beer industry is blaming Trump's disastrous trade war for the loss of 40,000 jobs between 2016 and 2018. Two beer industry trade groups said the increased cost of aluminum, thanks to Trump's tariffs, have caused brewers large and small to cut back their investment, resulting in the massive job loss, Bloomberg reported on Thursday.
"Aluminum tariffs are increasing brewers' costs and are an anchor on a vibrant industry," Jim McGreevy, chief executive officer of the Beer Institute, said in a statement. "Each brewer is deciding for themselves how to absorb that expense, whether it’s raising prices, laying off workers or delaying innovation and expansion."
During the two years before Trump took over, jobs in the beer industry grew by 27%. Then Trump slapped a 10% tariff on aluminum and the number of beer-related jobs dropped from 2.23 million in 2016 to 2.19 million in 2018.
Aluminum makes up more than 11% of the cost of manufacturing beer, according to a 2018 Beer Institute analysis. To make up for the higher cost they must pay, the industry called Trump's tariff a "tax on beer," noting that "consumers who choose to drink beer will be people who ultimately bear the cost of this tax."
A beer industry spokesperson told Bloomberg that she could not place all the blame of the job losses on Trump's tariffs, but evidence "supports that brewers are making fewer investments because of the added cost of aluminum."
Trump's trade war is hurting more than the beer industry. Farmers are struggling to find an overseas market for their products, resulting in a dramatic increase in bankruptcies. Trump is planning to implement a $16 billion bailout for farmers, but many farmers are still reeling from the economic consequences of Trump's actions.
In February, former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said she does not believe Trump understands the economics of international trade.
The loss of another 40,000 jobs for Americans seems to prove her right.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.