New York Times: US steel companies face downturn despite Trumps claims
by David Fleschen
The New York Times reorts in the 10 months since the Trump administration imposed 25 percent tariffs on steel imports, prices in the United States have now fallen back to levels last seen before the tarifs on March 1.
According to the recent report, hiring in the steel sector remains stagnant, in part because new mills have become more reliant on automation. Even with the opening and restarting of several mills last year, direct steel industry employment was 146,300 as of November — 4 percent lower than it was four years ago, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute. Industry analysts estimate that steel companies made 50 announcements of plans for new mills and investments last year and that three dozen plants were built or restarted.
Investors are increasingly wary about the industry’s long-term strength. Stock prices for some of the nation’s biggest steel manufacturers dropped by as much as 47 percent in 2018 amid fears of slowing global economic growth and the potential for Mr. Trump to reach trade deals that remove the tariffs, the New York Times concludes.
The figures stand in stark contrast to the rhetoric of Donald Trump: “They were doing very poorly when I took office, and now they’re doing very well,” Mr. Trump said of American steel makers before boarding Marine One this month. “Our steel industry was dying, and now it’s very vibrant.”
Recently Donal Trump has latched on to the idea of using steel to build his wall along the southern border, praising himself for fulfilling two campaign promises at once: keeping out illegal immigrants and resuscitating a struggling industry.
Source: New York Times, photo: fotoalia