Two states vital to Trump's reelection are shedding manufacturing jobs

If Donald Trump sets his mind to something, you can pretty much guarantee it’s going to go the other way. (Please, please, please, Melania — can you convince him to focus more on his health?) 

Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — states that Trump narrowly won in 2016 on his way to an Electoral College victory/popular vote loss — have seen a slump in manufacturing jobs over the past year compared to the rest of the nation.


The two swing states lost the most manufacturing jobs in the past 12 months, bucking the national trend. In Pennsylvania, home to steel mills, the number of factory positions fell by about 8,000 and in Wisconsin the loss was just over 5,000, according to regional data from the Labor Department Friday.

The states are important for Trump, whose pledges to reignite the sector are a cornerstone of his economic message. In the past year, though, manufacturing has weakened amid a trade war with China and slower global demand, making some companies hesitant to invest. The president was in Pennsylvania last month speaking to employees of Royal Dutch Shell Plc, where he said assembly lines are “roaring.”

Uh, that “roaring” you hear is from workers being laid off.

The data tell a different story: The industry slipped into a recession during the first half of 2019 and one gauge of manufacturing direction, the Institute for Supply Management’s index, showed a contraction in August for the first time since 2016.

Of course, this is largely the result of Trump’s ill-advised trade war, which he thought would be a pro-manufacturing panacea. That hasn’t proved out, and it never will.

And if Pennsylvania and Wisconsin slip back into the blue column, it will complicate the Royal Wee-brain’s re-coronation even further.

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