World News – CA – The Rust Belt Boom That Wasn’t: Heartland’s Job Growth Lagged Under Trump


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October 27 (Reuters) – Voters in Monroe County, Michigan may have expected an economic windfall when they gave up backing Democrat Barack Obama to help put Donald Trump in the House White in 2016

But it turned the other way around: In the first three years of the Trump administration, the county lost jobs and brought in slightly less wages in the first three months of 2020 than ‘in the first three months of 2017 as Trump took over

With the US election just a week away, recently released government data and new analysis shows how little Trump has made progress in changing the course of the Rust Belt region that propelled its unlikely rise to the White House

As job and wage growth continued nationwide under Trump, continuing trends that took root under President Obama, the country’s economic weight has also continued to shift towards the south and west, according to data from the US Quarterly Employment and Wage Census recently updated to include the first three months of 2020

A recent study by the Economic Innovation Group came to the same conclusion. It found relative stagnation in economic and social conditions in the Midwest compared to states like Texas or Tennessee where “superstar” cities like that Dallas and Nashville profited more from a decade’s bootyS expansion

Across the industrial belt from Wisconsin to Pennsylvania, private employment growth from the first three months of 2017 to the first three months of 2020 has lagged behind the rest of the country – the employment in Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio increasing 2% or less this time from a 45% national average, according to QCEW data analyzed by Reuters

Texas and California, on the other hand, recorded job growth of over 6% between 2017 and early 2020, while Idaho led the country with job growth of over 10%

Perhaps notably for the election, a Reuters analysis of 17 major counties in the five battlefield states of Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin has shown the limits of Trump’s controversial tax and trade policies in the job creation where he promised them All 17 counties had a voting age population of over 100,000 in 2016, supported Obama in the 2012 election and voted for Trump in 2016

In 13 of these counties, all located in the Rust Belt region, private employment growth was lower than in the rest of the country Employment actually declined in five of them Out of the four posting faster job growth than the rest of the country, two were in Florida, one in Pennsylvania and one in Wisconsin

The results show that under the « biggest economy ever » boasts that Trump did before the pandemic, when job and wage growth was indeed strong, the fundamental contours of the US region’s prosperity seemed practically unchanged

Some of this may have come from Trump’s own policies The use of tariffs on steel, for example, may have ended up costing jobs in Michigan

« Key areas of the battlefield have not held up well under President Trump, even before the pandemic, » said Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi The swing state counties that support Trump the most in 2016, he said, were « particularly vulnerable » to the president’s trade war tactics because of their links to global markets

But Trump was also swimming against a very strong tide, driven by forces greater than a Tweet or a tariff can probably counter For decades people, capital and economic output have evolved from a mid-20th century concentration in the Northeastern and Midwestern US to open lands, cheaper wages and a more temperate Sun Belt climate, and the Silicon Valley Innovation Corridor in Washington State

Trump, in his 2016 campaign, focused on manufacturing jobs – the last century’s path to the middle class – and as president he used a combination of trade policy, tariffs and brutal contortion on companies to try to consolidate the prospects of the industrial heart which formed its electoral base

That didn’t happen Texas, according to QCEW data, gained more manufacturing jobs from 2017 to early 2020 than Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania combined; the smaller but increasingly competitive manufacturing cluster of Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama has gained as many factory positions as these former manufacturing states

While Trump may have failed in his efforts to reinvigorate the Rust Belt, forces acting against the region predate his administration

A longer-term analysis of the GIE, examining the results through an index of social and economic measures, showed little progress between the turn of the century and 2018

According to a Reuters analysis of GIE data, two to three times as many counties in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin have slipped even lower in the think tank’s troubled communities index as it was reaching a more prosperous slice in those nearly two decades

In Florida and Washington state, on the other hand, five times as many counties have moved into a wealthier slice, and in California, three times as many counties have thrived

GIE Research Director Kenan Fikri said it was « easy to forget » that the Midwestern and Great Lakes regions were once the « pinnacle of what the US had to offer » before the economy only shifts to a more technological, service-oriented and global basis « We saw the gravity of economic well-being take a dramatic turn westward This continued unabated during the early years of the Trump administration, « he said

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Donald Trump, Rust Belt, Barack Obama

World News – CA – The Rust Belt Boom That Wasn’t: Heartland’s Job Growth Has lagged behind Trump



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