Speed Reads

Things that make you go hmmm

Commerce secretary nominee Wilbur Ross oversaw companies that sent thousands of jobs overseas

Wilbur Ross, President-elect Donald Trump's commerce secretary nominee, has had a hand in sending an estimated 2,700 jobs overseas since 2004, Reuters reported Tuesday, citing previously unreported Labor Department data. When the billionaire was working as an investor, buying struggling companies and pulling them back from the brink of failure, some of the textile, auto-parts, and finance businesses he controlled resorted to shipping production abroad.

In the grand scheme of things, those 2,700 jobs "amount to a small fraction of the U.S. economy, which sees employment fluctuate by the tens of thousands of jobs each month," Reuters reported. Ross' supporters also pointed out he's saved thousands of jobs. Still, the numbers show a different side to Ross' story. "He is not the man to be protecting American workers when he's shipping this stuff overseas himself," Don Coy, who used to work at a company Ross created before the automotive parts manufacturer closed its factory in Ohio and moved production to Mexico, told Reuters.

Trump, meanwhile, has repeatedly threatened to impose a "big border tax" on automakers that decide to manufacture in Mexico instead of in the U.S. When asked for comment on Ross' record, a Trump spokesman told Reuters that Ross' decisions to move jobs overseas were "driven by the need to put operations near customers and keep U.S. plants competitive, echoing arguments made by other auto industry executives who face pressure from Trump."

Ross did not respond to Reuters' requests for comment. His Senate confirmation hearing is slated for Wednesday. For more on the story, head over to Reuters.