How many jobs would be LOST (re: Saudi arms deal)

I assume it’s impossible to pin down the real dollar value of the ‘$110 billion’ Saudi arms deal that’s being trumpeted about. And, although the answer to my question may be equally elusive if not non-existent, I will ask it nonetheless:

How many jobs would be lost if all the tentative arrangements to sell arms to the Saudis were cancelled (I think representing something in the ballpark of $96 billion in proposed sales)?

(Claims of 600,000, or more, “jobs” have been bandied about, but nowhere have I seen what “jobs” means - is it jobs created, jobs sustained, or jobs lost. Or something else? Seems to me that ‘jobs lost’ is a good, and possibly the best, metric)


So, am I to infer from the question that “lost jobs” should be the determining factor as to whether or not the arms deal should go through? In other words, even if the arms deal is morally wrong, we should go through with it anyway in order to preserve jobs?

I ask because Trump has demonstrated many times through words and deeds that the bottom line is the determining factor in what is “right” and “wrong”.

Good gawd! I leave for a few years only to return and see that misplaced moral outrage has metastasized to my dear Dope. In GQ no less!

I am asking a fucking question. Full stop.

Hereis a transcript of an NPR interview about pending Saudi arms sales. Turns out Trump is lying. I know, hard to believe.

ETA Welcome back.

Jobs being eliminated is a lot more fluid than people want to believe. It’s often based on how employers feel about the future. If you’re a manufacturer and a contract with a foreign government gets cancelled, you might decide that these is an early sign of a long term loss of business and begin laying off employees. Or you might decide that your company is fundamentally sound and you’ll just sell your products to another buyer so there’s no need to change how many employees you have.

Moderator Warning

Jasmine, you have already received several notes and warnings for political comments in General Questions. This is an official warning. Further comments of this kind and you will find your posting privileges under discussion.

General Questions Moderator

Moderator Note

If you see an objectionable post, please report it rather than attempting to address it yourself.

General Questions Moderator

Moderator Warning

Keep the political jabs out of General Questions. This is an official warning. (And even if the claim is factually incorrect, calling it “lying” is a jab that is best kept to other forums.)

General Questions Moderator

I can’t find a figure on jobs but it’s worth noting that the price of the weapons sold to the Saudis is vastly, vastly inflated. The $110 billion of weapons is a far higher price per item than sold to other buyers for same/similar items elsewhere - such as American sales of F-15 to Singapore, South Korea, etc.

So the economic impact might be more akin to a $40 billion sale being canceled, not $110 billion.

Boeing may very well close its F-15 production line in Missouri, though, without this sale to the Saudis. But that was only a matter of time. So it’s jobs that would inevitably be lost anyway.

As an aside, how are such deals paid for? Does the Saudi government literally wire-transfer $110 billion digitally to bank accounts held by Boeing, Lockheed, Northrop, etc?

So, I don’t think there is a way to nail the question asked in the OP down except in broad terms. I did some searching and it looks to me as if the arms industry in the US employs over 2 million workers and does about $395 billion in sales annually. A hit of over $100 billion would be pretty large…assuming that if we didn’t sell stuff to the Saudi’s it wouldn’t be sold at all, which I tend to doubt. Some US systems (those we can actually sell) are in high demand, others…not so much. I haven’t looked into what the Saudi’s are buying, but unless it’s air defense missiles (which I doubt) mainly, I’d say that if they don’t buy them someone else will. If it IS mainly air defense missiles then that could be more problematic. Frankly, our air defense missiles aren’t on par with what several other countries make and there isn’t a huge demand for the things, since they also tend to cost as much or more than better performing systems.

Anyway, I’d go with a WAG of less than 100k workers, just based on straight cost verse number of laborers, but I’d say (another WAG) that it would be a lot less than that…I don’t know, maybe a few 10’s of thousands?

Of course, I don’t think it really IS $100+ billion dollar sale that the Saudi’s are talking about doing, so I think that the actual impact of this would be minimal…in the short term. Long term, it would be a bigger problem, since the Saudi’s are a major US arms buyer, which means parts and systems as well as the capital purchases, but I don’t think that those are in any sort of long term danger unless the Saudi government folds at some point and the new regime is like Iran, having a bunch of US weapons and systems but who is officially banned from parts, maintenance or new systems.

The $100 billion, if accurate, would not be in a single year. The NPR interview states that the Saudis bought about $112 billion during the Obama presidency - that’s over eight years. So the annual impact would be on the order of $10-$20 billion.

The other factor is that the Saudis can’t really go anyplace else. They depend heavily on the F-15; you can’t go to the Russians for spare parts and ordnance compatible with the F-15. If we stop delivering arms, the Saudi air force would soon be grounded.

If it’s a military sale, the US government is the intermediary between the foreign government and the US corporation. The corporation’s contract is with the US government. Money goes to the US Treasury, then the corporation gets paid by the US government according to its contract with the corporation. This is the typical situation for state-of-the-art items. Jet fighters and their parts are in this category.

Sometimes a US corporation does a direct commercial sale to a foreign government. This is typical for items that are not as sensitive. Things like rifles.

Morality has never stopped Americans before. Or anyone else.

Are Mitsubishi F-15J parts compatible?

(Not that Japan is likely to sell to the Saudis when US won’t, but just curious.)

Moderator Note

The point of moderating that post was to avoid hijacking the thread into a discussion of morality. Please refrain from responding to posts that have been moderated.

General Questions Moderator

F15 production line is near closing. There have been no new USAF purchases for more than a decade. Everyone else is committing to the F35.
Boeing will be out of the fighter business once the -15 and -18 lines are closed soon. So F15 sales to Saudi are pretty important for wherever the line is based.

Will obey.

The Saudis bought 96 Eurofighter Typhoons a few years ago - I suspect for the purpose of not being dependent on the United States.

Before you can establish “number of jobs lost/gained” you need to nail down what has actually been agreed. As noted already, there have not been $110 bn worth of arms contracts signed; the number thus far is $14.5 billion and some of that appears to be extensions of maintenance and training contracts for armaments already purchased. At present the THAAD missile system deal (worth C.$13.5bn) looks likely to go ahead but even that is yet to be actually agreed.

However, this articleprovides some useful context for job numbers involved:

So presumably if the contracts get signed, it’ll keep those 383,000 people in work but will not necessarily represent a massive expansion of any of the five companies’ workforces. And if all the contracts fell through there would probably be some layoffs but those companies have many other customers including the US itself.

Thanks all.

So, impossible to pin down, like so much else.

Much obliged!