Beer industry blames Trump's tariffs for loss of 40K jobs

The beer industry is pinning blame on the Trump administration's tariffs for thousands of job losses across the country.

A study released this week by the Beer Institute and National Beer Wholesalers Association found that direct, indirect and induced jobs were at 2.19 million in 2018, a drop of 40,000 jobs from 2016.

“Aluminum tariffs are increasing brewers’ costs and are an anchor on a vibrant industry," Beer Institute President Jim McGreevy told The Hill in a statement. "Each brewer is deciding for themselves how to absorb that expense, whether it’s raising prices, laying off workers or delaying innovation and expansion, all of which hurt a vibrant job-creating industry.”

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After the administration slapped a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports in March 2018, the cost of getting the metal to the Midwest more than doubled, according to Bloomberg News, which first reported on industry insiders blaming President TrumpDonald John TrumpOvernight Health Care: US hits 10,000 coronavirus deaths | Trump touts 'friendly' talk with Biden on response | Trump dismisses report on hospital shortages as 'just wrong' | Cuomo sees possible signs of curve flattening in NY We need to be 'One America,' the polling says — and the politicians should listen Barr tells prosecutors to consider coronavirus risk when determining bail: report MORE's steel and aluminum tariffs for the loss in jobs.

The industry report noted that while overall beer sales are down about 2.4 percent from 2016, there are some areas of growth, with brewing jobs up 8 percent. It attributed the increase to "tremendous growth in micro and brewpub employment as well as growth in higher margin products from all brewers."

The number of distributor jobs alone in the industry has also increased by more than 19 percent over the past decade, according to the latest report, which said that the industry has generated 2.1 million jobs and about $101 billion in wages and benefits.

“While one can’t say aluminum tariffs are 100% to blame, as there are multiple factors, this evidence supports that brewers are making fewer investments or having to make tough decisions because of the added cost of aluminum,” a Beer Institute spokesperson said in a statement to The Hill on Thursday.

The administration recently reached a deal to lift aluminum tariffs on Canada and Mexico as part of negotiations for the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which would replace the North American Free Trade Agreement. 

Updated: 5:41 p.m.