When a CNBC interviewer said the Mylan and Allergan moves would not bring back manufacturing jobs, Mr. Kudlow agreed. But he said, “You’re also going to have factories moving back in from other places around the world, including China.”
Mr. Setser said he was surprised that relatively few pharmaceutical companies were moving plants and activity back to the United States from countries like Ireland or Switzerland. Pharmaceutical imports from those countries actually rose in 2018, he noted.
Harry Moser, the founder and president of the Reshoring Initiative, praised Mr. Trump’s efforts to bring jobs and investment back to the United States, but said the president’s trade fights appeared to have undercut those efforts last year.
“We are pleased with the over 50 percent surge in reshoring jobs announced in 2017 and the record number of companies announcing reshoring jobs in 2018,” said Mr. Moser, whose group advocates measures to bring back five million factory jobs.
But he said efforts to draw investment and jobs to the United States were less successful in 2018 than 2017 because of a stronger dollar, which makes American products more expensive in foreign markets, as well as “uncertainty from the tariffs, dysfunction in Washington and the increasing skilled-work-force shortage.”
Mr. Trump won office by tapping into frustration among working-class voters in traditional manufacturing states where economists say up to 2.5 million jobs were lost to Chinese competition in the century’s first decade. Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, an industrial state that Mr. Trump carried easily in 2016, said some workers there were growing disillusioned over the president’s failure to deliver jobs to replace those in shuttered factories like the General Motors plant in Lordstown.
“We’re sensing and seeing a betrayal of workers and promises broken over and over again,” said Mr. Brown, a Democrat.
Mr. Brown has proposed several bills that he says would reverse the outflow of jobs, including tax incentives for companies that invest in the United States and pay workers well. Mr. Moser said the aim could be furthered by investment in skills development for manufacturing workers and by the weakening of the dollar — both policies that Mr. Trump has pushed.