How Chinese tariff fears affected top US companies' hiring trends

4 months ago by Connor Ibbetson in News

Trade wars are underway across the globe, and although a new deal has been struck with the EU, the tariffs continue on Asian markets. But are US companies feeling the bite? We take a look at Thinknum's hiring data for some of America's biggest companies. 

Many companies have announced unpopular moves to save costs in the wake of the controversial economic policies of Donald Trump. Most notably so far was motorcycle manufacturer Harley Davidson, who said they might have to move production of EU-bound motorcycles outside the US to avoid tariffs.

(A side note - the new deal announced by Donald Trump and Jean-Claude Juncker does not cover auto-parts, covering “zero subsidies on non-auto industrial goods”)

Harley Davidson

Looking at Harley Davidson's ($NYSE:HOG) job listings, it's clear to see a large jump in openings at the end of June — around the time the company announced potential plans to move some factories outside the US.

Walmart

Walmart ($NYSE:WMT) is another company that stands to suffer from the trade tariffs. Currently the company isn't exactly leading the market in China, but in Guangdong province alone, the retailer has plans to open 40 new stores over five years. But the shelves of US Walmart stores tell an important story — up to 80% of Walmart's products come from China according to the Alliance for American Manufacturing.

Looking at the jobs being offered up by the chain retailer suggests plans for expansion, with listings up by 1,000 since March 2018. Perhaps the retailer intends to weather the coming storm.

Boeing

Aviation giant Boeing ($NYSE:BA) is in direct competition with its European rival Airbus for upcoming contracts to replace most of China's aging airfleet. If Boeing win the contracts, China could be purchasing 3 in every 10 of Boeing's 737 aircraft, enough to support 150,000 american jobs. A trade war could make the contest for contracts decidedly one-sided, with airlines more than likely wanting a cheap bulk order.

Whilst Boeing is certainly not looking for an addition 150,000 staff just yet, its job listings are on the rise, suggesting the company is confident about avoiding the worst of the White House's tariffs. In fact, job listings have doubled since March and are almost four times that of October 2017.

Apple

Apple ($NASDAQ:AAPL) is currently the fifth best-selling smartphone retailer in the world, having been pushed out of the top spot by cheaper Chinese brands Huawei, Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi. Despite this in 2016, the Greater China region made up over a quarter of Apple’s operating income. Thats a huge chunk of the tech giants income that could be on the line.

Looking at job openings at Apple, numbers of open positions have fallen in recent months, but the California-based company is still seeking an additional 4,500 new hires.

Connor Ibbetson

An avid data fan, Connor is a London based journalist finishing his masters in Interactive Journalism. If he's not making graphs or cleaning data, you'll probably...

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