White House: Trump may have saved 1000 manufacturing jobs, but Obama saved 1 million

As Donald Trump traveled to Indiana on Thursday to tout his deal to stop air conditioner manufacturer Carrier Corp. from outsourcing some of its jobs to Mexico, the White House downplayed the president-elect’s announcement.

“Mr. Trump would have to make 804 more announcements just like that to equal the standard of jobs in the manufacturing sector that were created in this country under President Obama's watch,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters on Thursday.

The agreement spares about 1,000 factory workers whose jobs were going to be moved to Mexico, but roughly 1,400 workers are still slated to be laid off.

“This is good news, but the incoming president has a high bar to meet when it comes to putting in place the kind of economic policies that are going to benefit American workers,” Earnest said.

Trump’s deal comes with a big price tag. Indiana officials agreed to give Carrier’s parent company United Technologies Corp. $7 million worth of tax breaks over 10 years in order to encourage them to keep the 1,000 jobs in the state.

“Just a little rough math would indicate that if President Trump is fortunate enough to serve two terms in office for eight years, he's probably going to have to average about two of these announcements a week every week of his eight-year presidency in order to meet the same standard,” Earnest said. “So, the bar is high, but he'll have an opportunity to try it his way and we'll see if it works.”

The White House on Thursday challenged the incoming administration to match President Barack Obama’s record on jobs, wages and taxes. Earnest touted the president’s economic strategy, which he said saved more than a million jobs in the manufacturing sector and created another 805,000 manufacturing jobs.

“At some point there will be some senior economic official for the Trump administration standing up here, talking to all of you about the success of their economic strategy,” Earnest told reporters. “And hopefully you'll draw upon some of the notes from this conversation and ask them about it.”

Trump followed up the stop in Indianapolis with a rally in Cincinnati, Ohio on Thursday evening as part of his “USA Thank You Tour 2016.”

Vera Bergengruen: 202-383-6036, @verambergen