Republican President Donald Trump has trumpeted his purported success in U.S. jobs creation, touting the unemployment rate falling to a 3.5 percent half-century low as the economy created 136,000 jobs last month.
But for thousands of Coloradans who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own since he took office in 2017, reality is a bit different from Trump’s rosy outlook at the White House.
For example, Kaiser Permanente announced not quite a year ago it would lay off about 200 Centennial State workers, and then, only three months later announced it would hand pink slips to another 200 Colorado workers.
The healthcare firm said it needed to remain competitive.
And gigantic oil field company Halliburton just laid off 178 workers at its Grand Junction facility in the Mesa area, part of a mass layoff of 650 workers in Colorado, New Mexico, North Dakota and Wyoming. The company raised the prospect that the cashiered workers may be able to move to other jobs, however.
And more than 4,000 other Coloradans are being laid off (not including those who are fired), according to the state Department of Labor and Employment:
- QC Data, 40 to 60 workers gone, in the Arapahoe/Douglas area, because of lost contract
- Brown Brothers Harriman & Co., 136 workers, Arapahoe/Douglas, lost contract/closure
- Transform SR LLC, 80 people, Arapahoe/Douglas, change in business circumstances
- Nestle USA and Nestle Dreyer’s Ice Cream, 56 employees, Denver, restructuring/closure of site
- TTEC Services Corporation, 174 people, Arapahoe/Douglas, ending work from home ops
- Sandoz-Novartis, 37 losing paychecks, Broomfield, closure
- Aramark Sports & Entertainment Services LLC, 185 left jobless, Denver, loss of contract
- Levy Premium Foodservice LP, 56 let go, Denver, loss of contact
- ABM Aviation, 79 gone, Denver, loss of contract
- PrimeFlight Aviation Services, 439 people losing paychecks, Denver, loss of contract
- Sandoz-Novartis, 67 lost, Broomfield, closure
- Upsher-Smith Laboratories LLC, 74 gone, Denver, closure
- Sandoz-Novartis, 24 laid off, Broomfield, closure
- Crothall Healthcare Environmental Services, 283 losing paychecks, Arapahoe/Douglas, closure
- Invesco (Oppenheimer Funds OFI), 850 workers laid off, Pikes Peak, downsizing
- National Express Transit (NEXT), 60 let go, Pikes Peak, closure
- Sandoz Inc., a Novartis division (update), 56 losing paychecks, Broomfield, no reason listed
- Resolute Natural Resources Company LLC, 57 workers, Denver, merger
- Spectrum Pharmaceuticals, 3 gone, Denver, divesting product line/sale to Acrotech Biopharma
- Sandoz/Novartis (2nd wave of layoffs), 115 leaving, Broomfield, closure
- Conagra Brands Inc., 100 out, Boulder, closure
- Pura Vida Fitness & Spa, 134 gone, Denver, closure
- Westrock, 61 losing jobs, Arapahoe/Douglas, closure
- Wide Open West Networks LLC and WideOpenWest Illinois, LLC, 203 out, Colorado Springs, downsize
- The Inn at Cherry Creek, 18 let go, Denver, closure (temporary 18-24 months)
- AstraZeneca, 210 out, Boulder and Longmont, closure
- Advantage Logistics USA West LLC – Aurora, 475 people laid off, Pikes Peak, closure (cease operations)
- Advantage Logistics USA West LLC – Aurora, 272 cashiered, Aurora/Douglas, closure (cease operations)
- Peak Reliability, 69 out, Larimer, terminate operations
- Sandoz Inc., a Novartis division (update), 24 unemployed, Broomfield, closure
These dismissals don’t include lone individuals who are laid off, and don’t include anyone who is fired.
Consider that Colorado isn’t a huge state—with an estimated July 2019 population of 5,695,564, it works out that 20 of the 50 states have more residents—layoffs are striking in myriad Colorado communities.
Going from the state to the national level, some 210,000 newly laid off workers (and those whose temporary work ended) filed for unemployment compensation benefits for the first time in the week of Oct. 5, the U.S. Labor Department reported last week.
Now move from those new to the unemployment line to all the unemployed, and we see that 5.8 million workers across America were without paychecks last month.
But since he entered the Oval Office, Trump has kept up an unceasing focus on other areas of the employment picture.
For example, on Friday Trump congratulated himself, saying he has “created the greatest economy in the history of our country.”
Two years ago, he bragged that “we’ve fulfilled so many of our promises, everything we’ve wanted to do we’re doing. Unemployment is at a record low, jobs are flowing back into the country.”
As president, he has taken credit for jobs creation or retention at many firms, such as Fiat Chrysler, Ford, General Motors and Toyota, and Amgen, Carrier, Charter Communications, ExxonMobil, Intel, Softbank, Sprint, Walmart and more.
Critics have assailed many of those claims, saying the job additions or retentions were in the works before Trump claimed credit for them, or the promised positions haven’t fully materialized.
For years, Trump has boasted that he is a multi-billionaire businessman who can lead a brilliant economic miracle.
He repeatedly claims credit for jobs creation and the longest U.S. economic expansion as a selling point for voters as he seeks another four-year term in the White House. The election is roughly a year away.
He needs to offset a looming House impeachment, outrage over his decision to abandon Kurds in Syria who fought alongside U.S. troops against ISIS, and a series of scandals going back more than three years. Trump hopes a shining economy will distract people from all that.
“Breaking news: Unemployment rate at 3.5 %, drops to a 50-YEAR LOW,” he tweeted. “Wow, America, let’s impeach your President (even though he did nothing wrong!).”
With his constant swaggering braggadocio, the real estate tycoon hopes voters will forget the tumult and chaos, and give him another four-year lease on that 132 rooms, 35 baths mega-mansion on Pennsylvania Avenue.