Apple plans to create a $1 billion fund to invest in “advanced manufacturing” jobs in the United States. CEO Tim Cook made the announcement last night in a CNBC interview with Mad Money host Jim Cramer, and he says that Apple plans to announce its first investment later this month. Cook wants the new fund to create a “ripple effect” in the job market—he says that the manufacturing jobs created directly by the fund will also create service jobs needed to support them.
“Advanced manufacturing” is a bit vague, but generally speaking, it’s an umbrella term that encompasses creating technologically advanced products or improving the processes by which those products are created. The announcement was accompanied by a new “job creation” page on Apple’s site, which highlights the 2,000,000 jobs Apple directly and indirectly supports in the United States.
$1 billion is just a small fraction of the roughly $250 billion cash pile that Apple is sitting on, but the symbolism of the move is just as important as any jobs it might create. President Donald Trump’s promises to shore up American manufacturing were a major component of his campaign, and he singled out Apple more than once, pledging to “get Apple to start building their damn computers and things in this country, instead of in other countries.”
The complex web of benefits that keeps most of Apple’s manufacturing in China makes that unlikely, but a $1 billion investment gives Apple something to point to if Trump brings manufacturing up again. Intel has taken a similar step, pledging recently to complete a factory project that was started during the Obama administration in 2011.
In return, Apple stands to benefit from Trump’s proposed tax plan, which aims to lower the corporate tax rate to 15 percent (Apple projects that its tax rate for Q3 will be 25.5 percent under current law) and implementing a “one-time tax” on profits held overseas; about 93 percent of Apple’s cash and liquid assets is held outside of the United States.