At campaign's end, Trump takes a swipe at IBM

GOP nominee complains about offshore job losses, but not about automation

In Minnesota on Sunday, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump added IBM to the list of companies he criticizes for moving jobs offshore or to Mexico. Trump's line was a one sentence throwaway at the Twin Cities rally, but it may have resonated with this rally crowd.

In Rochester, Minn., IBM created a massive operation. In 1956, it broke ground on what would become a 32-building, 3.5-million-square-foot complex that employed 8,100 workers at its peak in 1991. It made punch card systems and later became widely known for its AS/400 system development work.

IBM created a stable workforce, and by 1988 was able to point out that the average Rochester employee was 39.5 years old and a 14-year IBM veteran. Nearly 40% of those workers were engineers or programmers, according to IBM's official history.

It's unclear how many work in Rochester today. IBM stopped breaking out its per-country hiring about six years ago, although a news report in May by The Post Bulletin put IBM's Rochester-area employment at about 2,500. In 2013, IBM told employees that it would start assembling servers in Guadalajara, Mexico, according to Minnesota Public Radio.

Trump has criticized firms such as Carrier and Ford for moving jobs out of the U.S., and at his Minnesota rally, offered up list of Minnesota firms that have shifted work out of the country, including IBM.

"IBM laid off 500 workers in Minneapolis and moved their jobs to India and various other countries," said Trump.

An IBM spokesperson called Trump's assertion incorrect, but didn't elaborate. Strictly speaking, Trump's remark -- which includes no time frame or any other details -- can't be pinned down. But that's not the point.

Trump wants to impose tariffs on goods manufactured offshore. The use of the H-1B visa has been raised by him as well in the context of these issues, but isn't related to his mention about IBM.

But what Trump hasn't discussed -- neither has Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, for that matter -- is an issue that Phil Fersht, the CEO and chief analyst at HFS Research, says is critical: automation.

"We've moved from shifting work overseas simply to eliminating it altogether," wrote Fersht, in a blog post Monday.

HFS estimates that automation will trim some 1.4 million global services jobs by 2021, which includes 770,000 low-skilled positions in the U.S.

"The bigger challenge facing both candidates is the impact of automation on U.S. jobs," he said.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags IBM

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Patrick Thibodeau

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?