President-elect Donald Trump has asserted that new U.S.-based jobs and investments recently announced by General Motors (GM), Hyundai, and Walmart should be credited to him. This has been disputed by observers who note that, while companies are announcing job creation in response to pressure provided by Trump, their investments had already been cemented before the election.
On Jan. 17, automakers GM and Hyundai announced new financial investments in the U.S., while retail giant Walmart and the chemical company Bayer AG announced thousands of new American jobs, Fox News reports.
GM will invest $1 billion in its U.S. factories and will shift some information technology jobs back from overseas, creating a total 7,000 new employment opportunities. Hyundai will invest $3 billion in its factories in Alabama and Georgia.
Walmart announced that it would create up to 10,000 new jobs throughout 2017, while Bayer AG pledged to create 3,000 American jobs if government regulators approve of its desired merger with chemical company Monsanto.
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Trump took to his Twitter to assert that the new investments were a direct result of his repeated calls for companies to bring their investments and employment opportunities from overseas back into the U.S.
“With all of the jobs I am bringing back into the U.S. (even before taking office), with all of the new auto plants coming back into our country… I believe the people are seeing ‘big stuff,’” Trump tweeted out. “Thank you to General Motors and Walmart for starting the big jobs push back into the U.S.!”
Whether or not these jobs and investments would have occurred without Trump’s advocacy has been disputed, similar to how the president-elect had taken credit for the automaker Ford’s decision to scrap a plant and Mexico and instead build a factory in Michigan.
The perception that Trump had played a pivotal role in the decision was tempered when Ford CEO Mark Fields told Fortune that his company decided to scrap their Mexico factory because “We’ve seen the market demand drop for small cars… it was very clear as we were going through the year that we didn’t need the capacity.”
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GM officials have indicated that their recently announced plans had been in the works as early as 2014. GM spokesman Pat Morrissey told the Detroit Free Press that while “All the decision’s behind today’s announcement are good business decisions and they have been in the works for some time... This was good timing for us to share what we are doing.”
Meanwhile, Wal-Mart has for some time been annually adding jobs roughly the same number as their 2017 announcement. If Bayer and Monsanto merge, their new spending pledge would simply be pooling together what they have already been investment separately, NBC News reports.
Trump took to Twitter to blast NBC for reporting on these developments, calling the publication “FAKE NEWS.”
Auto industry consultant Maryann Keller believes that GM, Ford and other automakers are making announcements about plans that they had long before the election just to capitalize on the current political climate.
“This is the normal course of business,” Keller told Bloomberg Technology. “All they’re doing is announcing investments that they would have made anyway.”
Center for Automotive Research director Kristin Dziczek believes that companies will be aggressive in announcing their business-as-usual job creation in order to avoid any negative attention from the president-elect.
“Pretty much everybody is dreading being the subject of a tweet,” Dziczek told The Guardian. “Getting hauled out into the court of public opinion with virtually no warning is not something anybody wants to get engaged with.”