President Donald Trump, Wisconsin's former Republican Gov. Scott Walker, and former House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) spent a lot of time at press events and photo-ops a year ago touting the 13,000 manufacturing jobs Foxconn was supposedly going to create in the USA, but-as with many of his job claims-the president's soaring promises are looking increasingly hollow.
It plans to hire mostly engineers and researchers not manufacturing workers.
Hon Hai unveiled the Wisconsin project with much fanfare in 2017 as the firm extracted a raft of incentives from the state, although some were forfeited past year after falling short of hiring goals. The price tag for the state of $3 billion did not seem to justify 13,000 jobs - that works out to $230,000 of taxpayer money spent on each $54,000 job created.
The plans, and the jobs, may now be curtailed or even killed.
President Donald Trump (c.) joined Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (2nd from l.) and Foxconn CEO Terry Gou (2nd r.) at the groundbreaking of the company's Wisconsin plant last summer. Foxconn has said the plant will initially employ 3,000 people, and eventually 13,000, at an average wage of almost $54,000 per year.
Announced at a White House ceremony in 2017, the 20-million square foot campus marked the largest greenfield investment by a foreign-based company in United States history and was praised by President Donald Trump as proof of his ability to revive American manufacturing.
Woo told Reuters about three-quarters of Foxconn's eventual Wisconsin jobs would be in research, development and design.
But the company said its presence in Wisconsin remained a priority and said it was "broadening the base of our investment" there.
Woo said a factory would not be built in Wisconsin: "You can't use a factory to view our Wisconsin investment". They also cited Foxconn's history of reneging on high-profile job-creation promises after the media spotlight fell away.
Foxconn said it remains committed to the Wisconsin project and the creation of 13,000 jobs, but added that the project's focus will be adjusted to meet the realities of the global market. Tony Evers, a Democrat who was critical of Foxconn in his campaign against Walker, could not be reached for comment. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said in a statement that Foxconn is reacting to a "wave of economic uncertainty that the new governor has brought with his administration". This news is devastating for the taxpayers of Wisconsin.
"The state of Wisconsin is investing in a once-in-a-lifetime economic development opportunity that will be transformational as the state will become home to the only LCD manufacturing facility outside of Asia", Mark Maley, spokesman for the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, told The Washington Post in a November email.
The statement concludes with, "This news only strengthens our commitment to Wisconsin: we aren't going to let our state move backward".
Economic development officials and other supporters of the project urged patience, saying Foxconn still plans to invest what it promised.