“We’re just shipping company after company after company is leaving this country and leaving jobs behind,” president Donald Trump said on the campaign trail last year. “And I’m going to get it stopped.”
So far, not so good. A group that advocates for federal workers says government records show (pdf) more than 10,000 jobs at federal contractors have been sent over overseas since Trump was elected. That’s more than double the average annual amount during Barack Obama’s presidency. The organization, Good Jobs Nation, funded by unions and faith groups, wants the White House to hold these contractors accountable.
All told, in the year since Trump was elected, more than 93,000 jobs have been certified by the Department of Labor as lost to outsourcing or trade competition, slightly higher than the average of about 87,000 in the preceding five years. But federal contractors made up 10% of that number, rather than the previous average of 4%. That suggests companies that work for the government like General Motors, Boeing and United Technologies aren’t worried about political repercussions from the man in the White House.
Consider United Technologies, which is the parent company of Carrier, a maker of air conditions and heating equipment. Carrier became famous shortly after the election when Trump loudly and personally intervened to “prevent” the company from outsourcing jobs to Mexico by offering it tax breaks. Since the spotlight has shifted along with Trump’s limited attention span, Carrier announced more layoffs, including 215 after the holidays. Local labor leaders say they feel betrayed.
The reality is that the president has little leeway in federal contracting law to prevent companies, even those hired by the government, from shifting jobs overseas.