LABOR DAY FACT SHEET: Donald Trump’s Failed Record on Jobs and the Economy

Donald Trump has broken his promises to Michigan workers as he failed to stop plant closures, oversees declines in manufacturing jobs and faces an unemployment rate that is stuck at Great Recession levels while the economic recovery slows. While Trump’s failed COVID-19 response has had disastrous consequences for Michigan workers, his chaotic leadership has been damaging Michigan’s economy from the beginning of the administration. Whether it’s his erratic trade wars, his failure to contain COVID-19, or his inability to get relief for workers, it’s clear Trump has failed Michigan workers on jobs and the economy every step of the way.

EVEN BEFORE COVID-19, TRUMP HAD BROKEN HIS PROMISES TO MICHIGAN WORKERS

  • PROMISE MADE: Donald Trump In Warren, Michigan: “If I’m elected, you won’t lose one plant, you’ll have plants coming into this country, you’re going to have jobs again, you won’t lose one plant, I promise you that.” [Trump Campaign Rally, Warren MI, 10/31/16]
  • PROMISE BROKEN: Warren, Michigan in 2019: “After 78 years, the General Motors transmission plant in Warren is closing its doors. About 260 hourly workers will be affected by the closure, which took effect at 1 p.m. Friday. Workers were aware the plant’s shuttering was coming but will still be affected nonetheless.” [WJBK, 8/2/19]
     
  • PROMISE MADE: Donald Trump in Grand Rapids, Michigan: “I’m doing this to make our country great again. Very simple. Very simple. Your industry in Michigan is going to start up big league again. These car manufacturers, they’re going to build right here now.” [Trump Campaign Rally, Grand Rapids, MI, 12/21/15]
    PROMISE BROKEN: HEADLINE: U.S. manufacturing was in a mild recession during 2019, a sore spot for the economy: “In contrast with steady growth in the larger economy, U.S. factory production shrank by 1.3 percent in the past year, the Federal Reserve reported. It marked the worst year for manufacturing since 2015, as the trade war, lackluster global growth and problems at airplane maker Boeing hurt America’s industrial economy.” [Washington Post, 1/17/20]

TRUMP’S FAILED CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE MADE THE ECONOMIC FALLOUT WORSE THAN IT HAD TO BE

  • HEADLINE: Some jobs are coming back, but the economy will need years to heal: “Trump’s salesmanship also risks opening a credibility gap between his rosy comments and reality. In a Fox Business interview on Wednesday, he again predicted a swift “V-shaped” recovery, an expectation that few economists outside his administration share. And he repeated his unfounded claim that the coronavirus will “just disappear” one day… Instead, the outlook is a start-and-stop recovery with the economy held hostage by a failure to contain the pandemic, some economists said. Adjusted for inflation, the economy will be smaller than it was at the end of 2019 until the middle of 2022, according to the CBO.” [Washington Post, 7/3/20]

AFTER HISTORICALLY HIGH UNEMPLOYMENT, MICHIGAN’S RECOVERY IS SLOWING. AND TRUMP IS CREATING MORE CHAOS

  • Michigan’s unemployment rate has topped 22% during the crisis. “Michigan’s jobless rate topped 22% in April, the state said Wednesday, likely an all-time high for the state, as widespread layoffs continued in the month as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Nearly 1.05 million unemployment claims were filed in Michigan in April, also an all-time high, according to the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget. The previous peak was 725,000 claims in June 2009 during the recession, the department said.” [Detroit Free Press, 5/20/20]
     
  • Six months into the pandemic, Michigan’s unemployment is at levels not seen since the Great Recession, and the recovery is slowing. “On Wednesday afternoon, the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget announced that the state’s published seasonally adjusted employment rate was 8.7%. While the jobless rate went down, the pace of job expansion has been moderate. Though payroll jobs rose by 103,000 in Michigan in July, this figure was less than half of the 266,000 jobs added in June.” [Detroit Free Press, 8/19/20]
     
  • Amidst the pandemic, Trump is continuing his erratic trade wars and hurting Michigan automakers. “In a proclamation signed Thursday, President Donald Trump said that he is setting aside a previous commitment to exclude Canada and Mexico from tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum he implemented in 2018 under a section of law that allows the president to unilaterally impose tariffs to protect the nation’s security… “This move will place American Automakers at a competitive disadvantage with our global competitors, while hurting the hundreds of thousands of workers we employ at a time when the industry can least afford it,” the American Automotive Policy Council, which lobbies for Ford Motor Co., General Motors Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, said in a statement. “Instead, we should let the USMCA’s groundbreaking steel and aluminum requirements achieve their intended effect, rather than reimposing tariffs on key trading partners.” [Detroit News, 8/6/20]

DESPITE DEMOCRATIC EFFORTS TO PASS CRITICAL STIMULUS FOR MICHIGAN WORKERS AND SMALL BUSINESSES, TRUMP REFUSES

  • MAY HEADLINE: House passes $3 trillion COVID-19 relief bill: “On Friday evening, the House passed a $3 trillion coronavirus relief bill providing assistance to state and local governments, hazard pay for frontline health care workers, student debt forgiveness and bolstered Medicaid and Medicare. The bill is known as the HEROES Act, the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act… The measure, over 1,800 pages long, is unlikely to gain any traction in the Republican-controlled Senate, although Senate Leader Mitch McConnell has indicated the Senate will pass further COVID-19 relief legislation. But he said he will work with the White House to determine what’s needed and how soon.” [CBS, 5/15/20]
  • AUGUST HEADLINE: With Jobless Aid Expired, Trump Sidelines Himself in Stimulus Talks: “On the first day of the first full week when tens of millions of Americans went without the federal jobless aid that has cushioned them during the pandemic, President Trump was not cajoling undecided lawmakers to embrace a critical stimulus bill to stabilize the foundering economy. He was at the White House, hurling insults at the Democratic leaders whose support he needs to strike a deal.” [New York Times, 8/3/20]
     
  • And Trump’s executive orders aren’t helping: “Just two weeks after President Trump approved executive actions aimed at bypassing stalled stimulus negotiations with Congress, only one state has said it is paying new jobless benefits, few evictions have been paused, and leading employers have made clear that workers will not benefit from the president’s new payroll tax deferral.” [Washington Post, 8/21/20]
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