Jan 30, 2019

3. Foxconn backs out of Wisconsin manufacturing job pledge Trump touted

President Trump and Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou at groundbreaking in. Wisconsin. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

Taiwanese electronics company Foxconn is reconsidering its plans to manufacture flatscreen panels at a $10 billion Wisconsin plant that promised to bring in 13,000 jobs, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Foxconn's 2017 pledge to build the plant, which drew billions of dollars in subsidies from state taxpayers, has been touted by President Trump as one of the largest manufacturing investments by a foreign-based company in U.S. history. A Foxconn representative told Reuters that steep labor costs at the Wisconsin plant would make it impossible to compete with manufacturers outside the U.S., and that three-quarters of the plant's eventual jobs will be in research and design — rather than "blue-collar manufacturing jobs."

The big picture: The change in plans comes as demand for Apple's iPhone and other smartphones — many of which are manufactured by Foxconn — is dipping as a result of a weakening Chinese economy, the U.S.-China trade war and other factors. As the Philly Inquirer's Joseph DiStefano also notes, "Foxconn has been the subject of several stories touting astronomical sums of future investment, none of which have come to pass."

  • These include $100 million-to-$1 billion investments the company has pledged, and later reneged on, in Brazil, Vietnam, Indonesia, Colorado, Louisiana and four other states, according to the Inquirer.

Go deeper: Corporations are fleeing global chaos

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Fear of coronavirus pandemic escalates

Photo: Abdulgani Basheer/AFP/Getty Images

In the blink of an eye, we've entered a new phase on the coronavirus.

The big picture: Italy, Iran and South Korea are at "decisive" points in their responses, the World Health Organization said on Thursday.

Stocks fall 4% as sell-off worsens

A trader on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Photo: Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images

Stocks fell more than 4% on Thursday, extending the market’s worst week since the financial crisis in 2008 following a spike in coronavirus cases around the world.

The big picture: All three indices are in correction, down over 10% from recent record-highs, amid a global market rout. It's the S&P 500's quickest decline into correction territory in the index's history, per Deutsche Bank.

Coronavirus updates: California monitors 8,400 potential cases

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

33 people in California have tested positive for the coronavirus, and health officials are monitoring 8,400 people who have recently returned from "points of concern," Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,800 people and infected over 82,000 others in some 50 countries and territories. The novel coronavirus is now affecting every continent but Antarctica, and the WHO said Wednesday the number of new cases reported outside China has exceeded those inside the country for the first time.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health