President Donald Trump campaigned on a promise to put blue-collar Americans back to work. And almost two years later coal mining and manufacturing industries are growing at the fastest rate in 30 years.
U.S. manufacturing output is at near record levels and workers are more optimistic than ever. In the latest industry outlook survey from the National Association of Manufacturers, more than 95 percent of manufacturing workers reported a “positive outlook” for their business.
Last year, U.S. coal saw increased in production, exports and prices.
That’s good news for Trump and Congressional Republicans who are bracing for the November elections. But, some experts warn the short-term boost wont fix what’s ailing the industries in the long term.
"Being back connotes that you’re back for a long time and that something fundamental has changed and that you’re suddenly better, more competitive, more durable. I don’t think that’s the case here," said Mark Muro, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. "We may see good output for a while but in terms of human employment that is under real pressure from automation."
And economists aren’t convinced it’s Trump’s policies that led to the growth in small town and rural America.
"The Trump administration has coincided with the continuing acceleration of the economy from the last couple years of the Obama administration and we’re really now in a genuine uptick," Muro said.
the growth in mining tracks with increased global oil prices, and as the economy improves and Americans are able to afford more goods, manufacturing has grown to meet the demand.
In fact, some of Trump’s policies, like the tariffs on steel and aluminum, could end up hurting manufacturers in the long run.
But, for the first time since the 2008 financial crisis, rural areas and small towns are seeing an improvement in their economies, and that can be a boon for Trump and Republicans, even if it’s only temporary.
I think there’s no doubt that things are a little better and a number of communities that weren’t winning may feel that they’re winning.