Ku­dos for jobs a sec­ond bow

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Josh Boak

The As­so­ci­ated Press

wash­ing­ton» Don­ald Trump gave him­self ku­dos for the cre­ation of 8,000 new U.S. jobs by a Ja­panese tech mogul, say­ing it was proof of “the spirit and the hope” stirred by his pres­i­den­tial win.

But for those par­tic­u­lar jobs, Trump was ba­si­cally tak­ing a bow for the sec­ond time. The jobs were part of a pub­lic com­mit­ment made on Dec. 6 by Masayoshi Son upon emerg­ing from the el­e­va­tor bank at Trump Tower af­ter a meet­ing with Trump. Son pledged that com­pa­nies con­trolled by his firm SoftBank would in­vest $50 bil­lion in the United States and cre­ate 50,000 jobs.

On Wed­nes­day, Trump cel­e­brated the planned cre­ation of 5,000 jobs by wire­less car­rier Sprint and 3,000 jobs by OneWeb — both com­pa­nies where Son is a dom­i­nant in­vestor.

Speak­ing from the front door of his Mar-a-Lago re­sort in Florida, Trump did not out­right men­tion Son’s pre­vi­ous com­mit­ment but used the op­por­tu­nity once again to de­clare a vic­tory for U.S. work­ers. Although 8,000 jobs — on their own — are un­likely to dra­mat­i­cally move the nee­dle to­ward the faster eco­nomic growth he has promised, the Trump tran­si­tion team treated the jobs as a pre­view of things to come.

“This is just the tip of the ice­berg,” spokesman Sean Spicer told re­porters Thurs­day.

With the Sprint and OneWeb an­nounce­ment, there may be slightly less than meets the eye. There is one clear win­ner, though: Son, worth an es­ti­mated $19 bil­lion. Since the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, Sprint stock has soared roughly 40 per­cent. Son’s SoftBank con­trols 83 per­cent of the Kansas­based car­rier.

Here are some more facts about the SoftBank com­mit­ment.

Are all of Sprint’s pledged 5,000 jobs at the com­pany? No. Of the 5,000 jobs Sprint said it would cre­ate or bring back to the United States in its up­com­ing fis­cal year, some would be at out­side con­trac­tors. The jobs will help “sup­port” its cus­tomer ser­vice and sales teams, among other di­vi­sions at the com­pany. De­tails about pay and ben­e­fits are be­ing fi­nal­ized, ac­cord­ing to Sprint.

Still, Sprint will likely have fewer work­ers than when Son’s firm SoftBank ac­quired a con­trol­ling stake in 2013. Sprint has shed about 9,000 em­ploy­ees since 2012; it now em­ploys roughly 30,000, ac­cord­ing to an­nual re­ports.

What are the 3,000 new jobs at OneWeb? Son’s SoftBank in­vested $1 bil­lion this month in OneWeb, which is build­ing a net­work of satel­lites to pro­vide broad­band in­ter­net. The in­vest­ment will help fi­nance the con­struc­tion of a fac­tory in Florida that could pro­duce 15 satel­lites a week, gen­er­at­ing 3,000 en­gi­neer­ing, man­u­fac­tur­ing and sup­port jobs over the next four years, ac­cord­ing to a Dec. 19 state­ment.

Who are the big win­ners from this an­nounce­ment? In ad­di­tion to those who get hired for the new jobs, a clear victor is Masayoshi Son. Trump twice praised the Ja­panese bil­lion­aire in De­cem­ber, sig­nal­ing that Son might as well have a di­rect line to the White House. This could be help­ful for Son’s other busi­ness plans. Un­der the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion, he saw a mar­quee deal to merge Sprint with ri­val T-Mo­bile fail. Reg­u­la­tors op­posed com­bin­ing two of the four largest mo­bile tele­com com­pa­nies in the U.S.

Will this boost eco­nomic growth? The 8,000 jobs sure sounds like a lot. But the U.S. econ­omy is so mas­sive that the fig­ure is ba­si­cally a round­ing er­ror — rep­re­sent­ing just 0.36 per­cent of the 2.25 mil­lion jobs em­ploy­ers have added over the last 12 months.

Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump, ac­com­pa­nied by SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son, speaks to mem­bers of the me­dia at Trump Tower in New York on Dec. 6. Trump gave him­self ku­dos for the cre­ation of 8,000 new U.S. jobs by Ja­panese tech mogul Son, say­ing it was proof of “the spirit and the hope” stirred by his pres­i­den­tial win. But for those par­tic­u­lar jobs, Trump was ba­si­cally tak­ing a bow for the sec­ond time.

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