Apple is getting more aggressive about emphasizing its role in the U.S. economy, apparently hoping to counter recurring criticism over its reliance on overseas factories.
On Wednesday, Apple for the first time released a state-by-state breakdown of where its 80,000 U.S. employees work, showing that more than half of them are located outside Silicon Valley. It also announced a $1 billion fund aimed at creating more U.S. manufacturing jobs, although it provided few details.
The strategy appears aimed at complicating efforts by 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.
CEO Tim Cook [pictured here] first described the manufacturing fund an interview on CNBC, but didn’t say how the money will be disbursed or who will be eligible to receive it. Apple will provide more details when it announces its first investment by the end of the month, he said. Apple’s initial billion-dollar investment amounts to a tiny fraction of its $257 billion in cash.
Cook also promised that Apple will hire “thousands of employees, thousands more in the future” in the U.S., although he didn’t specify how quickly that will happen. Apple’s U.S. payroll has grown roughly 40-fold since 1998, when it had 5,000 U.S. workers.
Cook also said Apple is examining ways to help more people learn the programming skills to make apps.
Threats to Apple
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 U.S.,” said technology industry…