President Donald Trump on Thursday visited a U.S. Steel plant in Granite City, Illinois, where a second blast furnaced is being restarted and employment numbers are expected to rebound.
“Thanks to our tariffs, idle factories throughout our nations are roaring back to life,” Trump said.
The company idled the St. Louis-area facility in December 2015, for a time cutting a workforce of 2,000 down to only 100 workers. The plant had made somewhat of a comeback by 2017.
U.S. Steel said Trump’s tariffs were a major factor in the decision to resume production of raw steel. By October, with the second blast furnace back in operation, the plant is expected to have around 1,500 workers on the payroll.
Trump focused on the beneficiaries of his trade policy, though other groups in the region have been anxious about tariffs’ effects on soybeans, pork, corn and other products. Signaling a hope to ease those concerns, the Trump administration announced a $12 billion aid program for farmers earlier in the week.
“For farmers who will be renegotiating their line of credit for the coming year, it’s welcome news but no substitute for the ability to sell what we produce overseas freely,” said Missouri Farm Bureau President Blake Hurst, who farms corn and soy in northwest Missouri.