Despite Trump's talk, the steel industry is still shedding jobs and shutting down parts of plants.
Trump campaigned on how he would bring jobs back to sectors like the American steel industry. Like nearly every one of his promises, this was just a lie.
Earlier this month, United States Steel filed a notice with the state of Michigan saying it would be temporarily laying off hundreds of workers at the Great Lakes facility in the state. They also said those layoffs could last over six months. That's on top of the fact that they've already let 50 workers go earlier in June and July.
The company will be idling two blast furnaces — shutting them down — because of "reduced consumer demand and market conditions." In other words, not enough people want to buy steel, no matter how much Trump insists the industry is bouncing back.
Trump claimed that his 25% tariff on foreign steel imports turned what he called a "dead" business into a "thriving" one, but that's not true. Since Trump imposed the tariffs nearly 18 months ago, U.S. Steel has seen its market value plummet by 70%. They already had to idle two other blast furnaces at other locations early this year. That's hardly "thriving."
This is just the latest in a series of Trump actions that have undermined the steel industry and the workers in that industry. He declared he'd order all pipelines in America to be built with American-made steel, then quickly backed off that promise. He started an ill-advised trade war and imposed tariffs that increased the price of U.S. Steel but affected downstream purchasers of that steel. For example, Harley-Davidson is facing having to spend an additional $15 million on steel.
Meanwhile, these job losses entirely wipe out last year's gains of 132 employees in the manufacturing industry in Ecorse, Michigan, where the Great Lakes plant is located. Ecorse already faces an unemployment rate of over a percentage point greater than the national average. In other steel towns like Farrell, Pennsylvania, workers are concerned that Trump's tariffs and trade war will cause great harm.
He's also incapable of telling the truth. Although Trump insisted that the company was building six new power plants in the United States, U.S. Steel seems unaware of that fact.
Even during his campaign, Trump was caught lying about using American steel in his casino projects. There's no reason to believe he's going to start telling the truth about the struggles of the industry now.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.