After a meeting Wednesday with officials from the administration of President Donald Trump, the retail conglomerate Walmart announced a plan to help spur the creation of an estimated 1.5 million new manufacturing jobs, and a possible 4.5 million in indirect jobs.
Part of Walmart’s Policy Roadmap to Renew U.S. Manufacturing, the plan centers on boosting domestic manufacturing by producing more consumer goods such as furniture, cookware and sporting equipment in-house instead of importing them from abroad.
For the plan to succeed, however, the Trump administration must meet its pledge to decrease policy barriers to domestic manufacturing. According to Walmart, those barriers included a lack of qualified workers in some manufacturing fields; failures by local governments to provide planning and appropriate incentives for targeted manufacturing operations; complex and overlapping regulation of businesses by federal, state and local governments; and a U.S. tax code that can put a burden on domestically based manufacturing.
The company cited a study by The Boston Consulting Group on how removing or lowering those barriers could help American manufacturers.
“According to BCG’s analysis, there is an opportunity to make in the U.S. approximately $300 billion of the $650 billion of consumer goods that are currently imported, including furniture, cookware, and sporting goods,” Walmart explained in a statement published after Wednesday’s meeting.
And each $100 billion in domestically produced goods would in turn create an estimated 500,000 direct manufacturing jobs and 1.5 million indirect jobs, according to BCG. So if domestic manufacturers boosted their output by $300 billion, it could conceivably lead to the creation of up to 6 million jobs total.
However, the company’s vice president for U.S. sourcing and manufacturing, Cindi Marsiglio, warned that the Trump administration must meet its promises for these goals to be met, though she enthusiastically shared her company’s willingness to work with administration to bring the much-needed policy changes to fruition.
“(B)ecause of our experience, Walmart is uniquely positioned to help facilitate broad engagement in accelerating the expansion of U.S. manufacturing,” she said.
And judging by the sentiment of New York Rep. Tom Reed, the Republican co-chair of the House Manufacturing Caucus, it seems the Trump administration is as interested in “broad engagement” as Walmart.
“Enhancing US manufacturing is a top priority of mine,” the retailer quoted him as saying. “Manufacturing is an advancing field where new technologies will open doors to job creation and economic growth. We must work together to remove barriers so that we are more competitive and good paying jobs are once again created right here in the United States.”
News of the Walmart meeting broke the same day that the president announced that his son-in-law Jared Kushner had helped broker a deal with the largest contract manufacturer of electronics that’s expected to lead to the direct employment of up to 13,000 Wisconsinites and potential indirect employment of an additional 22,000.
It seems clear the president didn’t lie when he promised on the campaign trail last year that he would bring more “jobs, jobs, jobs” to America.
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