West Virginia ranked 50th in household income in 2017

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF POLITICO FACTS)

 

Did West Virginia Rank 50th in household income in 2017? Yes

A mural depicting a more vibrant time in the town’s history decorates a building in Welch, W.Va. (AP/David Goldman)

In a Nov. 8 op-ed in the Charleston Gazette-Mail, Mike Romano, a Democratic West Virginia state senator, said West Virginia’s median household income was nearly $17,000 below the national average.

“In 2017, West Virginia’s $43,469 median household income was $16,867 below the national average, ranking 50th, according to the U.S. Census Bureau,” Romano wrote.

Is that correct? We took a closer look.

In September 2018, the U.S. Census Bureau released a report that included data for household income in 2017.

The figure for the United States was $60,336, while the figure for West Virginia was $43,469. The difference is exactly $16,867, as Romano said.

Meanwhile, we ranked the 50 states by household income and found that West Virginia ranked last, trailing Mississippi by $60.

Here’s the full ranking:

Maryland $80,776
New Jersey 80,088
Hawaii 77,765
Massachusetts 77,385
Connecticut 74,168
New Hampshire 73,381
Alaska 73,181
California 71,805
Virginia 71,535
Washington 70,979
Colorado 69,117
Minnesota 68,388
Utah 68,358
New York 64,894
Rhode Island 63,870
Illinois 62,992
Delaware 62,852
North Dakota 61,843
Wyoming 60,434
Oregon 60,212
Nebraska 59,970
Wisconsin 59,305
Texas 59,206
Pennsylvania 59,195
Iowa 58,570
Nevada 58,003
Vermont 57,513
Arizona 56,581
South Dakota 56,521
Kansas 56,422
Maine 56,277
Georgia 56,183
Michigan 54,909
Indiana 54,181
Ohio 54,021
Missouri 53,578
Montana 53,386
North Carolina 52,752
Florida 52,594
Idaho 52,225
Tennessee 51,340
South Carolina 50,570
Oklahoma 50,051
Kentucky 48,375
Alabama 48,123
New Mexico 46,744
Louisiana 46,145
Arkansas 45,869
Mississippi 43,529
West Virginia 43,469
Our ruling

Romano wrote, “In 2017, West Virginia’s $43,469 median household income was $16,867 below the national average, ranking 50th according to the U.S. Census Bureau.”

His statement is fully correct — on West Virginia’s median household income, on its distance from the national average, and in its 50th place ranking.

We rate the statement True.

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Mike Romano
West Virginia state senator
“In 2017, West Virginia’s $43,469 median household income was $16,867 below the national average, ranking 50th.”

Legal Marijuana Will Create 5 New Professions And 250,000 More New Jobs By 2020

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNBC NEWS)

 

Six years ago recreational marijuana use was illegal in all 50 states — and had been for nearly a century. Following the 2018 midterm elections, anyone over 21 will soon be allowed to legally consume marijuana in 10 states plus the District of Columbia. Overall, 33 states in the past 22 years have passed some form of marijuana legalization, from medical to recreational use.

Despite the ever-present federal threat — the Drug Enforcement Administration still considers marijuana a banned substance, and former Attorney General Jeff Sessions threatened a crackdown — the $8.5 billion U.S. marijuana industry seems poised to grow as rapidly as the law will allow it. And it’s generating jobs just as quickly.

By 2020 the industry is expected to create 250,000 new jobs, according to New Frontier Data, an industry research firm. In 2017 the number of job posts for openings in the marijuana industry increased by 445 percent, outpacing tech (254 percent) and health care (70 percent), according to ZipRecruiter.

The industry is in search of workers across the spectrum, from accounting to compliance, customer service, sales, technology and more. As the industry grows, so too do the opportunities. California, Colorado and Washington currently have the greatest demand for workers, but that could shift as legalization spreads.

Though the total number of marijuana jobs are still far smaller than those other, much older industries, they include several positions that didn’t exist prior to legalization, offering enterprising workers the opportunity to get in on the ground floor of an entirely new career.

Because legalization has come state by state, there is no single association or governing body offering licenses, training or certifications. Workers looking to enter the industry will need to do a bit of research to find out their specific state requirements.

But newcomers don’t necessarily need an encyclopedic nature of weed culture to succeed in the industry. In fact, Karson Humiston, CEO and founder of recruiting firm Vangst, said she decided to start her firm, which specializes in the cannabis industry, after discovering the breadth of talent required by entrepreneurs attending a 2015 industry convention.

“When I asked people what positions they were hiring for, it was everything from a botanist to a chemical engineer to a Ph.D. to a retail store manager to a marketing manager to a human resource manager to a CFO,” she said. “You name it, and these companies were hiring for it.”

Though some may hesitate to join an industry selling a drug that’s still banned by federal law, everyday workers have little to fear, said Morgan Fox, media relations director for the National Cannabis Industry Association. “We haven’t seen any U.S. attorneys make an effort to crack down on businesses that are compliant with state law, even though the former attorney general gave them carte blanche to do so,” he said, referring to Sessions. “If someone is just an employee of a company, I would think there’s pretty much no risk.”

Here are five fast-growing new careers driven by marijuana legalization. Salary data is gleaned from the 2018 Vangst Salary Guide. In most cases the salary ranges are unusually broad due to the industry’s youth and rapid expansion.

Director of cultivation
marijuana cultivation
Garden Remedies operates a cultivation facility in Fitchburg, Massachusetts.
Garden Remedies

They call it a weed, but growing crops of strong, healthy marijuana is both an art and a science. All grow operations, no matter how small, need a director of cultivation — also known as a master grower — to oversee planting, cloning, feeding, watering and pest management. At larger operations, cultivation directors have management responsibility for a team of growers, and the position typically requires frequent interaction with law enforcement to ensure compliance.

A background in horticulture or agriculture is a must for this job, and advanced degrees in either are sometimes required. Familiarity with cannabis is preferred, but plenty of employers are happy to hire someone with experience managing a large-scale greenhouse operation.

Average national salary range for qualified professionals: $88,000 to $250,500

Budtender
AP: container of marijuana buds for a customer at Utopia Gardens, a medical marijuana dispensary, in Detroit. Michigan
In this Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018, photo, a clerk reaches for a container of marijuana buds for a customer at Utopia Gardens, a medical marijuana dispensary, in Detroit.

Equal parts pharmacist, bartender, confidant and hall monitor, the budtender is where the marijuana industry meets the consumer. From behind the dispensary counter, budtenders check IDs and prescription cards, track all cannabis sales and — most important — help customers understand the products and how to use them.

Though budtenders are expected to have extensive knowledge of the goods, previous marijuana experience is not necessarily required. “Budtending is a great way to familiarize yourself with the industry and the peculiarities and particulars of it,” said Fox. Many dispensaries will offer on-the-job training, and budtenders are well positioned to advance in the industry.

Average national salary range for qualified professionals: $13.25 per hour to $16 per hour.

Dispensary manager
medical marijuana dispensary
Garden Remedies opened its first medical marijuana dispensary in Newton, Massachusetts in 2016.
Garden Remedies

In some ways, managing a marijuana dispensary is a lot like managing any other retail store: manage the staff, track inventory, and cultivate a clean, professional atmosphere. But the highly regulated nature of the product makes it a bit more complicated. It’s the manager’s job to make sure all employees are compliant with state laws, that everyone entering the store is 21 or older or, if it’s not a recreational store, that all customers have proper medical credentials.

Slip up and your dispensary could be shut down by the state. Dispensary managers often have experience running a high-end retail operation, like an apparel or jewelry shop.

Average national salary range for qualified professionals: $56,000 to $98,000

Director of extraction
Reusable CNBC: Vireo Health lab medical marijuana
A lab technician at Vireo Health in Johnstown, NY.
Jodi Gralnick | CNBC

Legal marijuana is sold in a dizzying variety of forms, including gummies, vaping oils, candies, lotions, teas, pills, perfumes — even tampons. The director of extraction oversees the production of the oils and concentrates within the plants needed to manufacture such products. That means running — or possibly building — a laboratory, managing a staff and maintaining strict scientific protocols.

Not surprisingly, this is a job that requires some skills. “Typically, we see a lot of Ph.Ds, chemists and people coming out of pharmaceutical labs going for these jobs,” said Humiston of Vangst. Fortunately, these positions tend to be well compensated, with salaries topping $250,000 in some states.

Average national salary range for qualified professionals: $72,000 to $191,000

Trimmer
GP: Inside The Delta 9 Cannabis Inc. Facility As Canada Set To Legalize Marijuana
A worker inspects cannabis plants growing inside a shipping container grow pod at the Delta 9 Cannabis Inc. facility in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
Trevor Hagan | Bloomberg | Getty Images

This entry-level, hands-on job represents the marijuana industry’s intersection with the gig economy. Trimmers are called in at harvest time to remove buds from stems and trim leaves in preparation for sale. And while some large indoor grow operations employ trimmers year-round, most smaller businesses will hire trimmers either on a part-time or per-day basis. In fact, digital job boards, like Mary’s List and Vangst GIGS, are popping up to connect growers with freelancers. Though trimmers require no special education, they are usually required to be at least 21 years old and to obtain a special state permit.

A word of warning: Trimmers are the first marijuana workers to face possible displacement by technology. “There’s starting to be a little competition here between humans and machines, which can produce three to four times as much product as a human trimmer,” said Fox. But many marijuana purists insist on a hand-trimmed product, which they believe carries greater potency.

Score one for the humans.

Average national salary range for qualified professionals: $12.25 per hour to $14 per hour.

Money from marijuana legalization could fix MTA: report

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK POST)

 

Money from marijuana legalization could fix MTA: report

An NYU think tank is high on fixing the cash-strapped Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

A new report out Wednesday by the Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management urges the statewide legalization of recreational marijuana — in order to get more green into mass transit.

“No new revenue source can match a tax on weed, ” Mitchell Moss, director of the Rudin Center, asserted to The Post. “New Yorkers deserve a subway system that is as productive as they are. It is time for New York to legalize and tax cannabis — and to designate the revenues for mass transit.”

A potential tax imposed on marijuana — if pot becomes legalized in New York — “would provide a way for the MTA to address many of their operating and capital requirements,” the center said.

Marijuana is currently legal for adult recreational use in 10 states, plus Washington, DC.

The report, citing BDS Analytics — a leading source for cannabis industry data — says the legal pot industry in North America reached $9.2 billion in 2017 and “is projected to generate $47.3 billion over the next decade.”

“This report argues that the subways need a dedicated revenue source with the potential for growth in future decades — one that does not divert funds from other public services, and that has yet to be tapped by the state and local government,” the paper reads.

Several states, including Colorado, Washington and Oregon, have already reported “higher-than-expected tax revenues” from the legalization of marijuana, the report notes

The state Health Department has already backed the legalization of recreational cannabis.

In July, the department released a report saying that legal marijuana sales could generate between $248.1 million and $677.7 million in revenue for the state in the first year alone.

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Folks: Like The Man Or Hate Him He Is Our Nation’s President But, Is He Sane?

Folks: Like The Man Or Hate Him He Is Our Nation’s President But, Is He Sane?

 

This article is not intended to be any type of joke or a poem. I know that I am not the most tuned in type of person, but I do read at a lot of sites pretty much every day. Please tell me where President Trump is positioning Himself with this ‘Trade Agreement’ with President Xi Jinping of China? Did He really just make this up, you know, this whole ‘ I thought it, so it must be so’? Honestly all that I can say is, I really hope that this is not so. Folks, that would actually mean that our Nation’s President, is insane. I don’t like the person that is our President right now. What I don’t like is his constant lying, it is not ever possible to believe anything he is talking about. I believe that our President is a lot of very bad things, it is simple the Man can’t be trusted, he is a loose Cannon and totally ignorant to everyday realities.  But actually crazy? If it turns out that President Trump made this ‘Deal’ up in His Head, but it really didn’t happen? What is it that President Xi Jinping and their Communists Government, who doesn’t like us in the first place, suppose to think about how to take advantage of this situation to their best advantage? Our President has greatly hurt our relations with almost every Nation on the Globe. Is it possible that Our President isn’t just a hate filled habitual liar, but that He is actually legally Crazy? Lord knows that I hope not. That would be a new low for Our Country. Mr. McConnell and the Republicans should really be ashamed of their works these past few years I believe that the Republican Party is going to take a 20 year or so ‘Hit’ to their credibility in Elections, if He is proven to not ‘be competent’. I just hope that He is not lying about this ‘trade deal’ with China. Could it be He could claim ‘temporary insanity’ with regard to Mr. Mueller’s Investigation also? Man, I hope that the Man is not ‘less than sane.’ As an old and Special Lady friend used to say once in a while, ‘we shall see what we shall see.’ Think about it, is that not so?

(Poem About A Nation’s National Ethics)   Money, or Lives

(Poem About A Nation’s National Ethics)   Money, or Lives

 

This Man is a Murderer as this the Sane World knows

How much Muddy Water is worth the life on one man

Our War Machine is primed our Bombs dropping every day

Billions can be won or lost on what the Trump Card plays

No doubt the Man is in a spot, what will He Tweet today

 

Common Sense and Ethics tell us how to play this game

But was it truly Common Sense if they take your job away

Chinese and the Russians ready to buy your Friends today

Blood is Blood yet when has been a Royal Prince been hung

Strutting around the World like one Big Ole Bird Fed Cat

 

How much money do we put on the price of one single life

Depends on the Keys you wear and how High Up is Your Ass

Government’s and Corps kill 10’s of thousands every day

Dow Jones is The King Of Crowns His Feet the Big Boys Kiss

For a few Greenbacks a million of us poor folks won’t be missed

 

 

Trump’s Advisers Struggle to Explain Deal He Says He Cut With Xi

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF BLOOMBERG NEWS)

 

Trump’s Advisers Struggle to Explain Deal He Says He Cut With Xi

 Updated on 
  • President hails ‘extraordinary’ dinner with Chinese leader
  • Kudlow says China made ‘commitments’ to ‘presumably implement’

President Donald Trump left his top advisers scrambling on Monday to explain a trade deal he claimed he’d struck with China to reduce tariffs on U.S. cars exported to the country — an agreement that doesn’t exist on paper and hasn’t been confirmed in Beijing.

In the day after Trump announced the deal in a two-sentence Twitter post, the White House provided no additional information. At a briefing in Beijing, a spokesman for the foreign ministry declined to comment on any changes to car tariffs.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

China has agreed to reduce and remove tariffs on cars coming into China from the U.S. Currently the tariff is 40%.

45.8K people are talking about this

Questioned about the agreement on Monday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Trump’s top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, dialed back expectations and added qualifiers.

Larry Kudlow speaks to members of the media outside the White House.

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

“I’ll call them ‘commitments’ at this point, which are — commitments are not necessarily a trade deal, but it’s stuff that they’re going to look at and presumably implement,” Kudlow told reporters at an official White House briefing that followed TV interviews and informal briefings by him and Mnuchin earlier in the day.

The apparent move on auto tariffs was part of a broader trade truce struck by Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping during a dinner in Buenos Aires on Saturday night. As part of that the U.S. said it had agreed to hold off on raising tariffs Jan. 1 while negotiations took place. Kudlow initially said that the Chinese had 90 days from Jan. 1 to come up with “structural changes” regarding intellectual property protections, forced technology transfer and other issues.

The White House later corrected him to say that the 90 days actually began on Dec. 1, Saturday.

Trump’s tweet, which moved stocks of automobile companies across the globe, followed the dinner at the Group of 20 summit in Argentina. There, all sides agree, the American president agreed to postpone an increase in tariffs on Chinese imports to 25 percent from 10 percent, which was scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, in exchange for negotiations on broader economic disputes.

Steven Mnuchin

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

“I think there is a specific understanding that we are now going to turn the agreement the two presidents had into a real agreement in the next 90 days,” Mnuchin told reporters at the White House on Monday. “I’m taking President Xi at his word, at his commitment to President Trump. But they have to deliver on this.”

He didn’t say precisely what China committed to do.

The uncertainty underscored the risk entailed by Trump’s eagerness to strike deals without nailing down details in advance. The confusion was exacerbated by the absence of a joint statement from the U.S. and China following the dinner. Financial markets were left struggling to digest talks that the White House portrayed as a major victory for the president.

“That’s what happens when you don’t have the detailed negotiations going into the summit” and end up with the “broad swath of a 35,000-foot deal,” said Bonnie Glaser, a China expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “It’s risky. There’s certainly no guarantees that it will produce the outcomes that we want.”

Donald Trump, Xi Jinping, and members of their delegations during their bilateral meeting on Dec. 1.

Photographer: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Photo

Officials in Beijing did not respond to requests for an explanation and neither did the Chinese embassy in Washington.

Trump nevertheless praised himself for the dinner, and abandoned nuance in claiming on Twitter that China had agreed to immediately buy more U.S. farm products, in addition to dropping car tariffs. Mnuchin, in an interview with CNBC on Monday, put a $1.2 trillion price tag on China’s additional trade commitments, but emphasized the details of how they get there still need to be negotiated.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

Farmers will be a a very BIG and FAST beneficiary of our deal with China. They intend to start purchasing agricultural product immediately. We make the finest and cleanest product in the World, and that is what China wants. Farmers, I LOVE YOU!

35.4K people are talking about this

China imposed a retaliatory 25 percent tariff on imports of cars from the U.S. over the summer in response to Trump’s own tariffs. That’s added on top of a 15 percent tariff that Beijing charges for imports from the rest of the world, leaving U.S. auto exporters facing a 40 percent levy at the Chinese border.

In his briefing with reporters, Kudlow said he assumed that the Chinese would eventually drop their auto tariffs altogether. Such a change would have to apply to all countries under World Trade Organization rules.

“We don’t yet have a specific agreement on that,” Kudlow said, apparently contradicting Trump’s tweet on the matter. “But I will just tell you, as an involved participant, we expect those tariffs to go to zero.”

Asked why the auto tariffs weren’t mentioned in statements the U.S. and China issued after the dinner, Kudlow inexplicably insisted that they were. “I don’t agree with that,” he said.

— With assistance by Shannon Pettypiece, Alyza Sebenius, and Jennifer Jacobs

(Updates with White House correcting Kudlow’s remarks, beginning in fifth paragraph.)

(Philosophy Poem) Taking Money From The Devil

Taking Money From The Devil

 

When you are down and out, be careful of the spout

Water is never pure when it is coming from the sewer

Muddy water from a swamp just kills you a little slower

When drowning in the sand one will grasp at any hand

Sweet words to reel you in to slather you on their spit

 

Promises of help all disguised to steal your life and land

Taxes and tolls with high interest you can never repay

Bridges that they build are just their avenue to invade

Belts and Roads built to plunder the poor man last dollar

Upon the Roads their Armies march your sovereignty do part

 

Whether a Panda or a Card they smile as they cut your throat

The Poor are only fodder for the weapons of the rich man’s dollar

Poor people do all the work but to Ivory Towers go all the perks

Just look to your Capitals for Fallen Angels disguised as rich Jerks

Soon all money will come from one hand, will be the Devil, not a man

Qatar Announces Withdrawal from OPEC

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Qatar Announces Withdrawal from OPEC

Monday, 3 December, 2018 – 11:15
Qatar’s Minister of State for Energy Affairs Saad al-Kaabi. (Reuters file photo)
Asharq Al-Awsat
Qatar announced on Monday that it was quitting OPEC from January 2019.

Minister of State for Energy Affairs Saad al-Kaabi told a news conference that Doha’s decision “was communicated to OPEC” but said Qatar would attend the group’s meeting on Thursday and Friday, and would abide by its commitments, reported Reuters.

He said Doha would focus on its gas potential because it was not practical for Qatar “to put efforts and resources and time in an organization that we are a very small player in.”

Al-Kaabi stressed the decision was not political but related to the country’s long-term strategy and plans to develop its gas industry.

Qatar had been a member of OPEC for 57 years.

Turkish Annual Inflation Falls 1.44% in November

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Turkish Annual Inflation Falls 1.44% in November

Monday, 3 December, 2018 – 11:00
Vendors arrange fruits and vegetables at a green grocery in central Istanbul, Turkey October 9, 2018. REUTERS/Murad Sezer
Istanbul- Asharq Al-Awsat
Turkey’s consumer price index fell 1.44 percent month-on-month in November, official data showed on Monday, bringing the annual inflation rate down from a 15-year high as a stronger lira, tax cuts, and discounted products helped to trim prices.

A plunge in the lira’s value fueled the inflation surge this year, triggering a massive central bank rate hike, but one analyst said the sudden downturn in prices now brought with it the risk of an early loosening in monetary policy.

As it grapples with high inflation, one of the main economic concerns for investors, the central bank has at the same time faced pressure from President Tayyip Erdogan, a self-described “enemy” of interest rates, to lower borrowing costs to spur growth.

Year-on-year, consumer inflation stood at 21.62 percent in November, data from the Turkish Statistical Institute showed. A Reuters poll forecast a 0.75 percent monthly decrease in November and annual inflation of 22.6 percent.

In its battle against inflation, Ankara has cut taxes on consumer products such as vehicles, furniture and white goods and encouraged shops to offer at least 10 percent discounts until the end of the year.

“Tax cuts for automotive, white goods and furniture sectors were the key factor bringing down inflation,” said Muammer Komurcuoglu of Is Investment. “We expect a limited increase in December inflation as the initial impact of tax cuts wane.”

Transportation prices slid 6.46 percent while food and non-alcoholic beverage prices fell 0.74 percent, the data showed. The producer price index fell 2.53 percent in November for an annual rise of 38.54 percent.

Stoked by the weak lira TRYTOM=D3, whose decline against the dollar this year peaked at 47 percent in August, inflation surged to 25.24 percent in October.

Finance Minister Berat Albayrak, Erdogan’s son-in-law, said the downward trend in inflation would continue.

“We will continue to carry forward the structural steps that we have started in the fight against inflation with all our ministries,” Albayrak said on Twitter.

The lira has recovered in recent months after a massive 6.25 percentage point rate hike in September and an improvement in relations with the United States. It was steady at 5.2 against the dollar on Monday, still down more than 26 percent this year.

Turkey’s economy is seen shrinking 1.4 percent in the fourth quarter and officially entering a recession – defined as two consecutive quarters of negative growth – in the first three months of 2019, a Reuters poll showed in October.

As the economy slows and inflation falls, prospects for further rate hikes are now off the table, said Jason Tuvey, senior emerging markets economist at Capital Economics.

“With political pressure on the central bank to loosen policy likely to mount, there’s a growing risk that policymakers decide to loosen policy even earlier, and more aggressively, than we currently anticipate,” he said.

Lost jobs, shrinking growth, and rotting crops-Trump’s trade war is hurting America

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BUSINESS INSIDER)

 

Lost jobs, shrinking growth, and rotting crops — here are the ways Trump’s trade war is hurting America

Trump MAGA hat
President Donald Trump.
 Jae C. Hong/AP Images
  • Eight months on from the opening salvos of President Donald Trump’s trade war, and the real-world impacts are starting to be felt across the globe.
  • Business Insider took a look at some of the companies and industries blaming a downturn on the president’s trade policy.
  • The world’s largest shipping company, American farmers, and small manufacturers are among those that have explicitly blamed tariffs for issues in their businesses.

Eight months on from the opening salvos of President Donald Trump’s trade war, and the real-world impacts are starting to be felt across the globe.

The US, which the trade war was ostensibly launched to protect, looks as if it is likely to be the worst affected, with some forecasters suggesting that as much as 1 percentage point could be knocked off economic growth in the coming years.

Read more: Volvo’s $30 billion IPO is officially off, and Trump’s trade war is to blame

On a smaller scale, companies and whole industries are already starting to feel the pinch from the US tariffs, which have raised the price of sending a whole range of goods to the US, increasing costs for the very companies they were designed to protect.

Business Insider decided to take a look at some of the major businesses and industries that have blamed the president’s trade war for a negative impact on their situation.

Shrinking global trade, and hurting shipping companies at the same time

FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: Empty Maersk shipping containers are seen stacked at Peel Ports container terminal in Liverpool, Britain, December 9, 2016. REUTERS/Phil Noble/File Photo
Empty Maersk shipping containers at Peel Ports container terminal in Liverpool.
Thomson Reuters

Maersk, the world’s largest shipping firm, has been particularly explicitabout the threats posed by the tit-for-tat tariffs between the US and China.

In its third-quarter results announcement earlier in November, the Danish giant said global trade was already feeling the effect.

Global container trade continued to lose momentum in the quarter. It has suffered “a much slower pace of growth” this year, rising by 4.2% compared with 5.8% over the same period in 2017, Maersk said.

Trade tariffs may end up stifling global container shipping by as much as 2% in the next two years. The company estimates that those tariffs make up about 2.6% of the global value of traded goods.

Maersk’s warning was not the first time the shipping giant had weighed in on the trade war. CEO Soren Skou said in August, before Trump hitswaths of consumer goods with levies, that the fallout from the tariffs “could easily end up being bigger in the US.”

Farmers forced to leave their crops to rot

FILE PHOTO: A bushel of soybeans are on display in the Monsanto research facility in Creve Coeur, Missouri, U.S., July 28, 2014. REUTERS/Tom Gannam/File Photo
A bushel of soybeans on display in the Monsanto research facility in Creve Coeur, Missouri.
Tom Gannam/Reuters

Perhaps one of the most striking consequences of the trade war is what is happening to some farmers in the US.

For many agricultural goods, particularly soybeans, China is the largest export market for US farmers. That’s changing thanks to Trump’s tariffs, with Chinese importers looking elsewhere for a cheaper supply.

China last year accounted for about 60% of US soybean exports, but such is the lack of demand this year that many farmers are being forced to abandon crops.

Farmers in some US states are being forced into plowing their crops under— effectively burying them under soil in fields — as there is not enough room to store them in storage facilities, and they are unable to sell their products thanks to Chinese tariffs, Reuters reported last week.

All grain depots and silos are almost full, meaning farmers have to find their own storage solutions or allow their crops to rot. Neither option is particularly palatable.

In Louisiana, as much as 15% of this year’s soybean crop has been plowed under or is too damaged to sell, according to data analyzed by Louisiana State University staff and cited by Reuters.

An industry Trump says he wants to help is suffering

tire builderShutterstock

Much of Trump’s reasoning behind the trade war is to reinvigorate the US manufacturing sector, which he said has been ground down by decades of cheaper production in Asia, particularly in China. Early signs, however, suggest the tariffs are doing the opposite and are actively hurting manufacturers.

Manufacturing activity in the US slowed to a six-month low in October,with industry figures citing future protectionism and widespread uncertainty as major reasons for the slowdown.

“For the consumer, the tariffs are for the most part still an abstract idea, but for manufacturers they are real, and a big problem,” Ian Shepherdson, the chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, wrote at the start of November when data from the Institute for Supply Management showed just that.

The ISM, a trade group of purchasing executives, said its index of national factory activity dropped 2.1 percentage points to 57.7 in October from a month earlier. The decline was largely thanks to uncertainty related to tariffs, according to survey respondents.

“Mounting pressure due to pending tariffs,” observed one respondent in the ISM survey. “Bracing for delays in material from China — a rush of orders trying to race tariff implementation is flooding shipping and customs.”

Such a view is corroborated by analysis from the Swiss banking giant UBS, which argued that many new and smaller manufacturers could end up being forced into bankruptcy.

“Brand new firms notoriously have very thin margins and a lack of ability to pass on costs,” Seth Carpenter, UBS’ top US-focused economist, said earlier this month. “Small cost shocks tend to cause large disruptions to new firms. We see some of these new firms failing.”

Many small firms have blamed the trade war for layoffs this year.

For instance, Element Electronics, a TV manufacturer, says it plans to lay off 127 workers from its South Carolina factory as “a result of the new tariffs that were recently and unexpectedly imposed on many goods imported from China.”

One of America’s most iconic brands is slashing 14,000 jobs

general motorsBill Pugliano/Getty Images

General Motors on Monday announced plans to close plants in the US and ax about 14,000 jobs, having previously warned that Trump’s tariffs might force it to do so.

The automaker, which employs about 110,000 workers, said it planned to cut costs by shutting plants in Ohio, Michigan, and elsewhere in North America.

The company did not specifically mention tariffs, instead citing “changing market conditions and customer preferences” among its reasons, but earlier this year GM lowered its profit forecasts for 2018 amid higher steel and aluminum prices caused by new US tariffs. And in June, GM warned that trade tariffs could lead to job losses and lower wages, telling the Commerce Department that higher steel tariffs would affect competitiveness.

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