BEIJING, CHINA– Einar Tangen, an expert on the Chinese economy, stated in an interview with Wisconsin Public Television that he is skeptical of Foxconn’s jobs claims. Governor Walker and other state officials reached a deal with Foxconn which will award roughly $230,000 in tax breaks per job if the company created the 13,000 jobs that have been promised. Both President Trump and Governor Walker have promoted this 13,000 jobs figure. Tangen says that automation will mean that Foxconn will shoot for the fewest number of employees as possible.
Shawn Johnson at Wisconsin Public Radio reports:
An expert on the Chinese economy said the decision by Taiwanese electronics giant Foxconn to build a Wisconsin manufacturing plant could start a technology corridor in the state, but he’s skeptical of claims the plant will create 13,000 jobs.
“I would find it hard to believe that he would have those kind of numbers there,” said Einar Tangen, who works in economic development in China and has watched the growth of Foxconn closely since he moved there in 2005.
When President Trump announced the Foxconn deal, he promised it would create a minimum of 3,000 and up to 13,000 jobs over time.
Gov. Scott Walker has consistently used the larger number, and so has the state literaturepromoting the Foxconn deal.
Tangen, who spoke at length with Wisconsin Public Television, said when big companies announce an expansion there’s a tendency to “juice” the numbers to present the best possible scenario for job growth.
But he expects Wisconsin’s plant, which will produce liquid-crystal display screens used in televisions, could be highly automated.
“My guess is that this plant will not be the kind of assembly plant that they have in China,” Tangen said. “It’s an LCD screen factory so my guess a lot of it will be automation and … as few employees as possible.”
The state of Wisconsin would pay Foxconn about $230,000 per job in tax breaks if the company hits the 13,000 job threshold. The state’s entire tax incentive package would hit $3 billion in that scenario, not counting any local incentives.
Tangen said an incentive package of that size is not unusual for Foxconn.
“Three billion is still a tremendous amount of money, especially when you start looking at the number of employment,” Tangen said.
Read more at Wisconsin Public Radio.