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Tariffs or not, Apple has been on an Austin hiring spree since April 2019

3 weeks ago by Joshua Fruhlinger in Trends

President Trump took to Twitter to, along with dealing with an impeachment inquiry and an out-of-control airport catering cart, take a victory lap about Apple ($NASDAQ:AAPL) announcing that it would build its latest Mac Pro in Texas.

The tweet alludes to "hundreds of American jobs in Austin and for suppliers across the Country [sic]", implying that Tim Cook and Apple's decision to build the new machine stateside would lead to more jobs. The tweet also assume that the move was also due to tariffs intended to reduce companies like Apple's outsourcing of supply chain jobs to China.

But the reality is that hiring in Austin for Apple has already been on the rise for some time. Meanwhile, more recently, Apple's hiring in China is ticking up, suggesting that any implications that Tim Cook and co. are moving away from China are without merit.

In fact, we reported nine months ago that hiring for Apple in Austin surged by as much as 76%. So where are we at now?

In mid April, Apple was hiring 180 people at its Austin facility. By September, that number reached 290 open jobs, an increase of 61%.

The tweet, and its implications that tariffs are directly related to Apple building the Mac Pro in Austin and creating jobs aren't just debunked by hiring trends found here. In fact, Apple has been assembling the Mac Pro in Austin since 2013.

To be fair, new 25-percent tariffs on particular Mac Pro components, including power adapters, are likely related to Apple's announcement. Apple requested relief on those parts, which the US Trade Representative's office denied. It's that event that is likely tied to the Trump administration connecting the two events.

It's unclear if the decision to manufacture the new parts — and machine — in the US will lead to even more jobs in Austin than the 61% growth already observed in the past year. So far, the bulk of hiring there has been for Apple's Software and Services and Hardware divisions.

It's also possible that, given the fact that new potential jobs will be in manufacturing plans, that hiring will be done on a temporary and/or contract basis, and perhaps even outsourced. That said, current hiring trends do not indicate that an incoming hiring spree is looming, mainly because one has already been in effect for over a year.

Meanwhile, despite its implications about Apple's activities in China, hiring trends reveal Apple has no immediate plans to reduce operations there, tariffs or not. Apple has upped hiring in Shanghai after a 22% drop

Since July — right after the new Mac Pro was announced — the number of openings in Shanghai has grown 24%. 

About the Data: 

Thinknum tracks companies using information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

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Joshua Fruhlinger

Joshua has been writing about technology, lifestyle, and business for over 20 years. He's one of the original writers and editors for Engadget, and still writes a...

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