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Trump's Tariffs Have Led to Layoffs at U.S. Manufacturers

A Florida man works a street corner hoping to land a job as a laborer or carpenter in Pompano Beach, Fla. Photograph by Joe Raedle—Getty Images

Despite his promising to be “the greatest jobs producer that God ever created” after winning the presidency, Trump’s recent slew of overseas tariffs has led to an increasing number of job losses at home.

America’s largest nail manufacturer, Mid-Continent Nail, became the first company to lay off employees as a result of Trump’s tariffs in mid-June. The Missouri-based company made its nails with steel imported from Mexico, but Trump’s 25% tax on steel dealt a blow to production. Sixty employees lost their jobs, and the whole company—which employs 500—could be out of business by Labor Day, said the Washington Post.

REC Silicon, which produces polysilicon for solar equipment, laid off 100 employees Monday as a “direct result of the ongoing solar trade dispute between China and the United States,” said company officials. The manufacturer has been closed off to the Chinese market since 2014, affecting overall sales. The Washington state-based company has reduced production to about a quarter of capacity due to these trade disputes.

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Industry coalitions have warned that tariff increases will cause job losses in the future. The Solar Energy Industries Association estimated that new tariffs imposed by the Trump administration will lead to the loss of 23,000 jobs in the U.S. solar sector. BMW and General Motors each sent letters to the Commerce Department warning that new tariffs could lead to higher car prices and job cuts at production plants. Volvo had promised to hire 4,000 new employees for a new plant in South Carolina, but has said it may have to break this promise as a result of new tariffs.

Harley-Davidson announced it would be moving some of its U.S. production elsewhere after retaliatory tariffs from the European Union raised U.S. motorcycle tariffs from 6% to 31%, adding nearly $2,200 to the average cost of one of its bikes. The company has not said how many jobs will be affected by this move.

U.S. Steel and Century Aluminum have announced it will hire new workers as a result of Trump’s tariffs, creating a combined 800 jobs, but this number is dwarfed by the number that could be lost in the coming months.

While the White House has argued that these tariffs will bring jobs back to the U.S., the U.S. Chamber of Commerce argues in a new campaign that 2.6 million American jobs could be lost as a result of “recent and proposed trade actions by the Trump administration.”

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