Trump keeps inflating '500,000' Saudi weapons deal jobs claim

Watch: Trump keeps inflating '500,000' Saudi weapons deal jobs claim
2 min read
30 October, 2018
The $110bn deal, and the ever-rising jobs slated to accompany it, have become Trump's go-to defence for selling arms to Saudi Arabia despite the Yemen war and Khashoggi murder.
Trump inflated the number of jobs from 40,000 to 500,000 since March [Getty]
US arms manufacturers have quashed President Donald Trump's ever-increasing figure of American jobs created by the $110bn Saudi arms deal last year, putting the current figure at around 500 new jobs, just 1 percent of Trump's go-to statistic for defending the controversial deal.

According to a report by Reuters, weapons contractor Lockheed Martin, who could potentially deliver $28bn worth of goods towards the deal, predict that it will create fewer than 1000 US jobs.

In an internal document seen by Reuters, the firm estimates the deal - which is also highly unlikely to meet the $110bn figure - will sustain 18,000 pre-existing jobs, and create 10,000 new roles in Saudi Arabia.

The mega deal, and the jobs purported to come with it, have become Trump's go-to defence for continuing to sell arms to Saudi Arabia despite their devastating war in Yemen and the premeditated killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul.

The jobs figure, which Trump has rapidly inflated over the past eight months from 40,000 to a skyrocketing 500,000 this month, had already drawn wide-scale scepticism due to the fact that the five largest US arms companies employ a total of 383,000 people.


The maximum amount of jobs created, as calculated by experts, would be 184,000, however this is highly unlikely due to the lack or real contracts signed between the two powers.

The $110bn figure has also been mocked by observers, who point out that the deal mostly consists of letters of intent for future projects, with few actual contracts being signed.

Bruce Kiedel, senior research fellow at the Brookings Institute called the number "fake news" in an article penned last year when the deal was signed.

"There is no $110 billion deal. Instead, there are a bunch of letters of interest or intent, but not contracts," he wrote, adding that even so, "the numbers don’t add up."

Furthermore, the only project from the deal currently being carried out is an order of four frigate warships being carried out by Lockheed, which it says has created 500 jobs.

Raytheon, another contractor, predict that 10,000 jobs may be sustained by the deal, however only a fraction will be new jobs, according to Reuters' source in the firm.

To add insult to injury, the full $110bn deal is even more unlikely to go ahead as observers predict Saudi Arabia, whose economy has declined severely over the past year, won't be able to stump up the full amount, if it does end up signing contracts.

Join the conversation by tweeting us @The_NewArab