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Fact Checking Donald Trump's Job Creation Claims

A fact check on Trump’s claims about saving jobs, from Exxon to Carrier to Sprint.
Image: U.S. President-Elect Donald Trump speaks at an event at Carrier HVAC plant in Indianapolis
U.S. President-Elect Donald Trump speaks at an event at Carrier HVAC plant in Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S., December 1, 2016. REUTERS/Chris BerginChris Bergin / Reuters

President Donald Trump overstated job gains again on Wednesday, boasting about a carmaker that will actually lay off more workers in Michigan than it will hire in the next year.

"Just today, breaking news, General Motors announced that they’re adding or keeping 900 jobs right here in Michigan and that’s going to be over the next 12 months," he said at a speech in the state.

But nine days ago, GM announced that it will lay off 1,100 workers in Lansing, Michigan when the company ends a factory's third shift in May. That means a loss of 200 jobs for the company even after the 900 jobs are either created or recovered. And 680 of the workers in line to benefit from this job savings announcement will first spend time out of work.

Here's how Trump's Michigan announcement breaks down, according to GM:

  • 220 of the jobs Trump boasted on Wednesday are new
  • Included in the 900 jobs saved number are 680 workers who will be laid off from Lansing in May, then eventually hired back
  • Within the 680 number: 180 of those laid off in Lansing will be re-hired 60 miles away in Flint, Michigan sometime this year (no exact timeline is set). Another 500 of those laid off in Lansing will be hired back sometime in "early 2018," said GM spokesman Tom Wickham

This comes after, and in addition to, General Motors announced a $1 billion investment that would create or retain thousands of jobs "over the next few years."

Their January announcement was one of the first investments that Trump took credit for, despite GM's insistence that their decision dated back to 2014. It's something Trump has done repeatedly since his November win.

“Since my election, Ford, Fiat-Chrysler, General Motors, Sprint, Softbank, Lockheed, Intel, Walmart and many others, have announced that they will invest billions of dollars in the United States and will create tens of thousands of new American jobs,” Trump said during his joint address to Congress.

Here, we fact check the various announcements Trump has sought to take credit for.


ExxonMobil became the latest object of the president's affection on Monday when the company announced a $20 billion, 47,000 jobs investment in America.

Less than an hour later, the White House applauded the oil giant with a press release that looked remarkably similar to Exxon's own and effusive tweets from the president, who claimed credit for the announcement in a video released on social media.

"This is something that was done to a large extent because of our policies and the policies of this new administration," Trump said in the video. "I said we're bringing back jobs. This is one big example of it."

Only the investment wasn't entirely new.

At least some of the spending on that $20 billion investment began in 2013, Exxon's press release reveals, and is expected to continue through 2022. One project the company touted has already been completed. Still, Exxon's new CEO — who took over when Trump appointed then-CEO Rex Tillerson to Secretary of State — specifically praised Trump's administration.


Just weeks after his election, Trump bragged that he struck a deal with the state of Indiana and Carrier to preserve more than 1,100 jobs that would have otherwise been sent to Mexico. (United Technologies, Carrier's parent company, had previously said 2,100 total jobs would go to Mexico from two different facilities — the Carrier plant, and a United Technologies Electronics Controls facility.)

The company received $7 million in tax incentives over a decade, and credited Trump for his job-saving prowess.

But the numbers tell a different story. Trump's deal saved 800 jobs or fewer, according to union officials, and around 350 of those jobs had not been slated to leave. Amid the fanfare, Carrier announced that they'd send other jobs — 600, by one estimate — to Mexico. Another 700 jobs from the UTEC facility will also be outsourced.

Did Trump help save or create jobs? Yes, but not the more than 1,000 he claimed.


In November, Trump boasted that he had “worked hard” to keep Ford’s Lincoln plant in Kentucky, but the plant wasn’t going anywhere.

Ford had been investing in the plant for years, and while the company had considered moving production of a single model of Lincoln to an existing Mexican plant to make room for production of another car, the company says it wouldn’t have had an impact on jobs in either country. They did say their decision not to shift car production did have something to do with Trump, however.

In January, the company ditched plans for a new $1.6 billion Ford Focus plant in Mexico, saying it would keep the car's production at an existing Mexican plant. It also announced a $700 million investment in an existing Michigan plant to build more electric vehicles, creating 700 more jobs in the United States. The company stressed that it didn’t cut a deal with the president, and that its decisions were rooted in business priorities rather than politics. However, Ford did say that the decision meant a “vote of confidence” in Trump’s pro-business policy plans.

Did Trump help save or create jobs? When it comes to jobs in the Lincoln plant, no. Trump may have had a hand in Ford’s decision to invest more dollars in the U.S., but the carmaker has refuted the notion that it was a direct result of his presidency.

Fiat Chrysler

Fiat Chrysler announced in early January that they’d invest $1 billion in plants in Warren, Ohio and Toledo, Ohio, adding 2,000 jobs. Trump took credit for the announcement in his joint address, but Fiat Chrysler said the deal arose from talks with United Auto Workers and that the plans predated then President-elect Trump to decisions made in 2015.

"I wish I could give him credit for this," Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne told reporters recently. "But the thinking was in place beforehand."

Marchionne did say that the company would need clarity from the president before making any production decisions about Mexico.

Did Trump help save or create jobs? Not yet, according to the company's CEO.

General Motors

General Motors announced a $1 billion investment in January alongside the creation or retention of 1,500 manufacturing jobs, the return of 450 jobs from Mexico, and the addition of 5,000 jobs “over the next few years” in finance and technology.

GM officials stressed that the decision dates back as early as 2014, long before Trump got involved and threatened a “big border tax” for the company because it imports several thousand hatchbacks to the U.S. from Mexico. GM CEO Mary Barra, who is on Trump’s economic advisory council, said the firm had no plans to alter their manufacturing plans to please the president.

Did Trump help save or create jobs? Nope.


Trump took credit for Sprint’s plant to bring 5,000 jobs back to the United States — "because of me they are doing 5,000 jobs in this country," he said — as well as the 3,000 jobs OneWeb said they’d add, and the $50 billion investment by SoftBank that fueled both firms’ job growth. Trump met with SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son in December.

Sprint and OneWeb confirmed later that the job growth had been previously announced, and SoftBank said the investment had been in the works since October as part of SoftBank’s promised 50,000 new jobs. There is some indication that SoftBank’s CEO increased the size of the investment in OneWeb and the number of new hires, however.

Did Trump help save or create jobs? Possibly. It’s clear that the investment was already happening, though Trump may have helped boost it.

Lockheed Martin

Lockheed announced 1,800 new jobs before Trump even took office, as part of a deal they were working out with the Pentagon for fighter jets. The government contractor later credited Trump for the deal, as well as the cost-cutting measures Trump gave himself credit for, but experts say both things had been in the works for awhile. No matter the favor they may be trying to curry with the new president, taxpayer savings and new jobs aren’t his doing completely.

Did Trump help save or create jobs? Trump’s administration inked the deal a few weeks into his term and Lockheed did credit him, but Trump didn’t sew this deal together himself.


After meeting with Trump in February, Intel pledged to commit $7 billion to build a new factory in Arizona, hiring at least 3,000 employees. Intel’s CEO credited Trump with the move, despite the fact that Intel’s domestic investment had been in the works for years; construction on a factory began in 2011, though it was delayed when demand decreased.

Did Trump help save or create jobs? Intel says he helped create jobs, but their investment had been in the works (though delayed) since 2011.


In January, Walmart said they’d add 10,000 jobs. Trump thanked them in a tweet, but the jobs had been previously announced in October as part of a $6.8 billion capital-spending plan.

Did Trump help save or create jobs? There’s no evidence that he had any impact here.


The Chinese e-commerce giant's founder, Jack Ma, met with Trump in January, announcing that Alibaba helped create 1 million jobs in the United States. Trump said the group wasn't considering doing that before he got elected, but the company's founder has been talking about it for years.

Asked if he and Trump had talked about that investment, Ma said "no." The Washington Post reported that the numbers don't add up: it's unlikely that the tech giant with just 35,000 employees can grow so quickly in the U.S.

Did Trump help save or create jobs? Trump is taking credit for jobs that appear to have been in the works before that he didn't specifically discuss with the group's founder while experts doubt the reality of such investment. We'll have to wait and see on this one.