Ex­perts say Fox­conn pledge on US jobs hard to im­ple­ment

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - BUSINESS - By CHINA DAILY

Doubts have in­creased whether Asian tech gi­ant Fox­conn can fill the 13,000 new jobs it needs to start the $10 bil­lion new plant it has pledged to build in the US state of Wis­con­sin.

“They’re not go­ing to get (the in­cen­tives) if they don’t pro­vide the jobs and don’t pro­vide the cap­i­tal in­vest­ment,” Wis­con­sin Gover­nor Scott Walker said on Thurs­day.

He was talking about his state’s com­mit­ment to pro­vide up to $3 bil­lion in tax cred­its and other in­cen­tives to Fox­conn over 15 years.

“We tie it to per­for­mance,” Walker added.

Fox­conn, the Tai­wan-based man­u­fac­turer that makes elec­tron­ics for Ap­ple Inc’s iPhones and other tech com­pa­nies, an­nounced the new plant in Wash­ing­ton on Wed­nes­day at the White House, along with Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, House Speaker Paul Ryan, who rep­re­sents the state, and Walker.

On that same day, Ama­zon said it planned to hire 50,000 peo­ple at its US ful­fill­ment cen­ters, in­clud­ing a sprawl­ing fa­cil­ity in Kenosha, not far from Fox­conn’s po­ten­tial new sites.

Though the job growth and the byprod­ucts of hav­ing Fox­conn are “fab­u­lous” for the state, Fox­conn will “have its hands full” try­ing to find thou­sands of em­ploy­ees, Gus Ramirez, ex­ec­u­tive chair­man of Husco In­ter­na­tional, a Wauke­sha man­u­fac­turer of au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try com­po­nents, told Mil­wau­kee Jour­nal Sen­tinel.

“Ob­vi­ously, 13,000 jobs all at once in a short pe­riod is chal­leng­ing,” said Pa­trick O’Brien, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment or­ga­ni­za­tion Mil­wau­kee 7.

“But we have a higher than na­tional share of IT and man­u­fac­tur­ing work­ers,” he said, adding that lo­cal ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions rang­ing from pub­lic schools to tech­ni­cal col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties would stand up to meet the hir­ing de­mands.

O’Brien said that be­yond the 13,000 jobs di­rectly cre­ated by the plant, it would bring at least 22,000 in­di­rect po­si­tions at sup­pli­ers and other em­ploy­ers, along with 10,000 con­struc­tion jobs over each of the next four years, and 6,000 in­di­rect jobs from the con­struc­tion.

Fox­conn will pay the new work­ers an av­er­age of $53,875 a year, plus ben­e­fits.

“If you of­fer enough money, you can get peo­ple to fill these po­si­tions,’’ said Ja­son Dedrick, a pro­fes­sor at the school of in­for­ma­tion stud­ies at Syra­cuse Uni­ver­sity.

“Peo­ple come out with en­gi­neer­ing de­grees. Es­pe­cially physi­cists, elec­tri­cal en­gi­neers, and me­chan­i­cal en­gi­neers; they have lots of op­por­tu­ni­ties and choices,” he said.

“It’s go­ing to be very chal­leng­ing, given that the job mar­ket is very tight na­tion­ally and in Wis­con­sin.”

Steve Koenig, se­nior di­rec­tor of mar­ket re­search at the US Con­sumer Tech­nol­ogy As­so­ci­a­tion, was more up­beat.

“Wis­con­sin, in par­tic­u­lar, has many great higher learn­ing in­sti­tu­tions that are ca­pa­ble of meet­ing the needs of such em­ploy­ers that lo­cate in the area.”

Zhang Ruinan in New York con­trib­uted to this story.

BLOOMBERG

Em­ploy­ees work on the as­sem­bly line at a Fox­conn plant in Shen­zhen, Guang­dong prov­ince.

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