Perhaps no investment project in America has been more controversial in recent years Construction of Foxconn’s manufacturing complex in Wisconsin. Between the multibillion-dollar tax break and the quick scaling-back of Foxconn’s investment plans, critics have increasingly dismantled the deal as corporate welfare.
But for all its flaws, the project is now appearing in a very different story role that is beginning to emerge: the wages of laborers in that corner of Wisconsin, on the southwestern shore of Lake Michigan, than anyone Climbing more quickly. Second part of the country.
Two of the region’s metropolitan areas – Fond Du Lake, just north of Milwaukee, and Racine, just south – are the first and fifth nationally in salary benefits, with both postings rising more than 25% in July from a year earlier. is. A third metropolitan area, Shoboben, ranked 35th out of a total of 389 in the US, according to data released last week.
This is a surprising development in a state that, by all accounts, will be one of the most important battlegrounds in the November presidential election.
While Wisconsin’s economy is expanding rapidly – its large-scale dairy farms have been greatly affected by President Donald Trump’s trade wars and epidemics – the Foxconn project is a demonstration of a growing investment boom in manufacturing around Milwaukee that is a major bright Location has been created. .
Companies including Advent Tool and Manufacturing and Nexus Pharmaceuticals and Candy Manufacturers Haribo has recently established operations in the region or announced plans to do so.
When Foxconn, a Taiwanese electronics company, began hiring in Racine, it helped to bring the county’s salary benefits to the record-high. (The county ranked No. 1 nationally in salary increases for several months in 2019.)
The epidemic has also not had a cooling effect on the region. The unemployment rate quickly fell below 10% after an increase in April, the pace of wage growth has barely slowed and consumers continue to spend at the red-hot clip.
“Foxconn Development has already provided major investment in construction and construction,” said the US Rape Brian Still, a Republican who represents the district and also co-founded the Future of Work Caucus.
Democrats, keeping in mind that Trump unexpectedly won the state in 2016 by fewer than 23,000 votes, were planning to hold their convention in Milwaukee this week unless they opted for a completely virtual event instead Choose Trump, who celebrated the Foxconn deal with then-Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in 2017, traveled to Wisconsin on Monday. Two days later, Vice President Mike Pence also did.
These manufacturers are creating labor shortages, which are increasing wage benefits, said Kevin Muhs, executive director. Southeast Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission.
“There has been a very clear shift to relocating to the Milwaukee area – there’s a coolness factor there,” said Ripon College President Zac Mesit, where Pence spoke in July. “The region is an affordable option and there are plenty of job opportunities.”
Low wages were traditionally part of that potential. The state has set its minimum wage at only $ 7.25-an-hour, the lowest level for more than a decade by the federal government. Racine Mayor Corey Mason is among the politicians who – unsuccessfully – to raise it to $ 15-an-hour, which would include it with coastal cities including San Francisco and New York.
A quick overview of the jobs site Act.com shows that Foxconn has several Inauguration at the plant site. They offer at least $ 15-an-hour. And some promise as much as $ 75,000 per year.
More than 1,000 local activists and 100 companies have joined to develop Foxconn’s Wisconsin technology park, according to an April letter to the company’s state economic-development agency. The letter also stated that Foxconn hired more than 550 people at the end of last year.
Yet far less of what was promised in return for $ 4.5 billion in government incentives – one of the largest public-subsidy packages given to a foreign company in American history – indicates job creation That project has quickly moved forward to 2019, when Bloomberg reported that Foxconn was operating at a glacial pace and investment targets were repeatedly overheated.
Last year, the Moody’s Investors Service raised concerns about Racine’s finances, stating that more than $ 100 million in debt was taken to help the state’s stimulus package. Standard & Poor’s is more excited on the project. S&P said in a March report, “There should be a dramatic impact on the local and regional economy.”
– Assisted by Austin Carr, Debbie Wu and Shruti Singh
(Updated with the release of data in the third paragraph.)