Claim: Andrew Yang claimed at the Democratic presidential debate on Tuesday that one reason voters in Ohio cast their ballots for Donald Trump in 2016 is that the state lost 300,000 manufacturing jobs.
Facts: In 1995, Ohio had 1.05 million manufacturing jobs, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. By November of 2016, this had fallen to 686,3ooo. That’s a loss of over 358,000 jobs.
Critics of America’s trade policies often cite 1995 because the North American Free Trade Agreement was signed a year earlier. The bulk of the job losses, however, came after China’s ascension to the World Trade Organization. The financial crisis accelerated the pace of losses.
But the job losses had been going on for even longer than that. Between 1969 and 2009, Ohio lost 750,000 manufacturing jobs according to the Carnegie Endowment for Peace.
Yang may have been referring to jobs lost since the turn of the century. From January of 2001 through November 2016, Ohio shed around 306,000 manufacturing jobs.
But manufacturing jobs have been returning to Ohio. As of August 2019, the most recent date for which data is available, Ohio had around 704,100 manufacturing jobs. That brings the job losses since 1995 down to 347,000.
Verdict: Yang actually understated the number of manufacturing jobs lost in Ohio, perhaps unintentionally weakening his point that economic dislocation is driving voters to support President Trump.