By George Faraday, Legal & Policy Director
Tonight President Trump is returning to the Erie Insurance Arena for his first rally in Erie, Pennsylvania since August 2016. Good Jobs Nation will be there to ask him what he’s done to deliver on his promise to Pennsylvania workers two years ago “to bring back our jobs.”
In fact this pledge was both the first and the most repeated promise Trump made at his last rally in Erie– by comparison his other favorite themes like immigration and defense got barely a mention.
Evidently Trump delivered the right message in the right place. Erie County swung from Obama to Trump in 2016 by an impressive 18%. And it’s not surprising that Trump’s promise at Erie “to bring back our jobs … bring back our companies” resonated. Erie had just been shocked by the decision of General Electric – the city’s lynchpin employer for over a century — to shift all locomotive production to Texas, axing 3,000 high-paying union jobs.
So, how are things looking for workers in Erie and across the Keystone State now that Trump has had almost two years in office to follow through on his promises?
In Erie metro, manufacturing employment has actually fallen under Trump’s administration. Manufacturing employment in the State as a whole has edged up by 1%, but is still 75,000 lower than before the Great Recession.
As for the outsourcing of American jobs abroad that Trump promised to stop on “day one” of his Presidency, there’s not much sign of a slowdown. In fact Pennsylvania has lost 8,022 jobs in 127 separate offshoring-caused layoffs since Trump’s election – more than the total increase in manufacturing jobs.
A good proportion of these layoffs have been caused by federal contractors like GE (197 jobs from Grove City and Lewistown), LORD Corp (41 from Erie), Mill Point Capital (221 jobs from Westmoreland County, and Merck (75 from Bellefonte), even though, under President Trump these companies have received almost eight billion dollars in taxpayer-funded contracts.
And so far there’s no sign of the return of high-paying manufacturing jobs to Erie that Trump promised back in 2016.
Is President Trump going to tell us why tonight?