"That's good news for us here. People can take their breath for the first time in almost five years," said Kevin Key, president of the local United Steel Workers Union.
But the project will only add about 150 jobs – not close enough to make up for more than 1000 lost when US Steel turned off some of its other local operations in 2015. Many businesses in the area are still on board and even Walmart left town, Key said.
The story is the same elsewhere in the United States. Trump's annual trade war has succeeded in reviving an industry that experienced years of decline that China beat up production. But it has not been translated into work for workers.
The steel industry spent 2,400 jobs last year, an increase of just over 1
Trump's tariffs made it 25% more expensive to buy foreign steel, with the aim of redirecting business to US producers. Steel production in the United States grew about 5% last year, and manufacturers are resuming shuttered mills and expanding existing facilities, and have announced plans to build new ones.
"Our steel industry is so exciting now, again. They build facilities across the United States." It's a beautiful thing, says Trump Friday.
Job creation can pick up when manufacturers begin to reopen mills and build new ones, but analysts say it takes some time, given how tight the US labor market is.
"Now there is a skill deficit in the steel industry. People who have been laid off many years ago can do other things," said Philip Gibbs, a steel analyst at KeyBanc Capital Markets.
Dozens of industrial groups have urged the administration to raise tariffs, including the US Chamber of Commerce, for example, car manufacturers have said that tariffs have driven up US $ 400 per vehicle vehicle cost reduction.
So far, many manufacturers using steel have been able to absorb the fare or pass some of it with consumers. But it may end.
"Businesses have done their best to look for short-term solutions. But they cannot continue for years and be competitive," said Dennis Slater, president of the Equipment Manufacturers Association.
"Over time, the tariffs will be a drag on production and economy," he added.