Trump’s deals with Carrier and Ford might not have panned out the way he’d touted, but he’s celebrating Toyota and Mazda’s recent announcement that they will be building a $1.6 billion plant right here in the old US of A. The exact location hasn’t been revealed yet, but Corollas and a Mazda crossover vehicle will roll off assembly lines in just five years. Toyota says it will be investing $10 billion in the U.S. between now and 2021, when the new plant will be up and running. The President called the move “a great investment in American manufacturing” that could create 4,000 jobs.
That news comes on the heels of the latest jobs numbers, which continue to grow, and unemployment continues to go down. 209,000 jobs were added in July and unemployment sunk to 4.3%. That’s a sixteen year low. Most of those jobs weren’t in the manufacturing sector like the ones that Toyota’s new plant will create. It was leisure and hospitality — specifically restaurants, that lead the charge. Now workers are just waiting for wage increases to catch up to the leaps and bounds the jobs market has made this summer.
Economists observed in June that some employers were still having a hard time filling certain jobs, whether because of wages, the unappealing nature of the work, or the location of the job. The later will be of much interest to cities and states hoping they’ll be picked by Toyota as the location for the new factory. There are currently Toyota plants in Mississippi, Indiana, Kentucky and Texas. And there are plenty of towns with manufacturing talent who would be happy to see industry return to their area, and plenty of places with unskilled workers who might be interested in learning a new trade if a plant were suddenly in their town. It’s simply a matter of finding the right fit — and, of course, the right package of subsidies.