GM announced today that about 900 jobs would be added (or, importantly, retained) ahead of President Trump's arrival in Michigan, where he is expected to discuss his plan to roll back fuel economy standards. The timing of the announcement is almost certainly not coincidental, as appending it to a Trump visit gives it a higher profile and dovetails with the President's jobs agenda. It's less likely the decision itself was made for those reasons, but the free PR boost is a nice bonus.

As for those 900 jobs themselves, they aren't all new jobs. The only net gain is approximately 220 jobs at the Romulus Powertrain Plant, which produces the 10-speed automatic transmission that's proliferating through the company's lineup. The 180 jobs at Flint Assembly and 500 jobs at Lansing Delta Township are retained jobs – that is to say, spots the company found for workers who would otherwise have been laid off. By the way, the Flint jobs will help with production of heavy-duty pickups, and the Lansing jobs are to produce the Chevrolet Traverse and Buick Enclave.

Finding jobs for manufacturing workers in the auto sector, whether new or retained, is admirable. No matter how GM couches it, the company has created or retained a total of 7,000 jobs this year, and its total reinvestment in US production is around $1 billion. But these decisions are business ones, not political ones – timing the announcements to make them seem inspired by economic policy, or the political situation, is simply smart PR.

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