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Politifact: Obama Wrong on Steel Production

Image: Politifact: Obama Wrong on Steel Production
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By    |   Tuesday, 05 Jul 2016 07:13 PM

President Barack Obama got it wrong when he said last week that "The steel industry is producing as much steel in the United States as it ever was. It's just (that) it needs one-tenth of the workers that it used to," Politifact says.

Obama made the claim during a summit in Ottawa one day after presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump slammed manufacturers for moving jobs into other countries. Trump was speaking near Pittsburgh, where the once dominant steel industry has been hammered in recent decades.

Obama took issue with Trump, saying, "This nostalgia about an era when everybody was working in manufacturing jobs, and you didn't need a college degree, and you could go in and as long as you worked hard you could support a family and live a middle-class life – that has been undermined far more by automation than it has been by outsourcing or the shift of jobs to... low-wage countries."

Obama, according to Politifact, is wrong both on his assertion that America is producing as much steel as it ever has and that Americans lost only one in 10 steel industry jobs.

Citing U.S. Geological Survey data on raw steel production dating to 1900, Politifact said the high point in production was 1973, when 137 million metric tons of raw steel were produced. In 2013, the most recent year available, only 87 million metric tons were produced, a drop of more than a third.

"That's not even close to 'as much' as the peak, which is what Obama said," Politifact wrote.

As for employment, The American Iron and Steel Institute told Politifact the all-time high was 650,000 employees in 1953. In 2015, only about 142,000 Americans were directly employed by the steel industry.

"That's closer to a loss of one in five jobs, not the one in 10 Obama cited," Politifact said.

Automation is a factor in the loss of jobs, though it also has been hit by recycling becoming a more dominant part of the industry over raw production and by less demand from the oil production industry.

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President Barack Obama got it wrong when he said last week that "The steel industry is producing as much steel in the United States as it ever was. It's just (that) it needs one-tenth of the workers that it used to," Politifact says.
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2016-13-05
Tuesday, 05 Jul 2016 07:13 PM
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