Mon, May 08, 2017 - Page 15 News List

Apple emphasizes US economy impact


Apple Inc is getting more aggressive about emphasizing its role in the US economy, apparently hoping to counter recurring criticism over its reliance on overseas factories.

Apple on Wednesday for the first time released a state-by-state breakdown of where its 80,000 US employees work, showing that more than half of them are located outside Silicon Valley. It also announced a US$1 billion fund aimed at creating more US manufacturing jobs, although it provided few details.

The strategy appears aimed at complicating efforts by US President Donald Trump and other politicians to vilify Apple for using companies in China and elsewhere to assemble most of its products. Apple had no comment on political ramifications of its announcements.

Apple chief executive officer Tim Cook first described the manufacturing fund during an interview on CNBC, but did not say how the money would be disbursed or who would be eligible to receive it.

Apple will provide more details when it announces its first investment by the end of the month, he said.

Cook also promised that Apple will hire “thousands of employees, thousands more in the future” in the US, although he did not specify how quickly that would happen.

Apple’s US payroll has grown about 40-fold since 1998, when it had 5,000 US workers.

Trump has threatened to impose tariffs on products from China, a change that would drive up Apple’s costs. That could pressure the company to raise its prices at a time when it is already having trouble increasing its sales of iPhones and iPads.

“They are trying to make the case that they really do have a lot of folks working in the US,” technology industry analyst Rob Enderle said. “So if you want to pick on somebody, you might want to pick on somebody else because they won’t be a good example.”

The numbers show its highest concentration of workers (36,786) is located in California, home to the company’s Silicon Valley headquarters and 53 stores. Its second-biggest employment center is in Texas (8,407 jobs), where it has a corporate campus and 18 stores.

Apple’s decision to provide detailed information about the locations of its US employees could help the company win support from lawmakers eager to protect jobs in their states, Enderle said.

“It gives senators something to push back with, recognizing that Apple is a real risky company to target anyway because its products are so popular with people,” he added.

Besides showing how many of its full-time and part-time employees work in each state, Apple also lists where its 9,000 US suppliers are located.

The company says it spent more than US$50 billion at its US suppliers last year, helping them employ a total of 450,000 workers.

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