MONACA, Pennsylvania — The United States is on pace to add about 2.6 million jobs this year under President Trump’s watch. Yet the bulk of the hiring has occurred in bastions of Democratic voters rather than in the Republican counties that put Trump in the White House.

On average for the year-ended this May, 58.5 percent of the job gains were in counties that backed Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016, according to an Associated Press analysis of monthly government jobs data by county.

Despite an otherwise robust national economy, the analysis shows that a striking number of Trump counties are losing jobs. The AP found that 35.4 percent of Trump counties have shed jobs in the past year, compared with just 19.2 percent of Clinton counties.

The jobs data shows an economy that is as fractured as the political landscape ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. As more money pools in corporate hubs such as Houston, San Francisco or Seattle, prosperity spills over less and less to smaller towns and cities in America’s interior. That would seem to undercut what Trump sees as a central accomplishment of his administration – job creation for middle class and blue-collar workers in towns far removed from glitzy urban centers.

Job growth in Trump’s economy is still concentrated in the same general places as it was toward the end of Barack Obama’s presidency – when roughly 58.7 percent of the average annual job gains were in Democratic counties.

Yet the lack of transformative job growth in Trump areas hasn’t seemed to erode his support among Republicans, while hiring in Democratic areas has done little to improve his standing with those voters. For Trump’s core supporters, cultural issues such as gun rights, immigration and loyalty to the president have become dominant priorities.


Trump has pointed with pride at a strengthening national economy in hopes that voters will reward the Republican Party by preserving its majorities in the House and Senate this year. The government reported the fastest quarterly economic growth since 2014 and the unemployment rate is a healthy 3.9 percent. At a Pennsylvania rally Thursday, the president declared, “Our economy is soaring. Our jobs are booming.”

But other issues preoccupy the minds of the party faithful in Trump strongholds such as Beaver County, Pennsylvania, northwest of Pittsburgh.

Chip Kohser, the county Republican chairman and the bristle-bearded founder of a farm share company, said his party members are rallying around their staunch opposition to gun control.

“Our No. 1 motivating factor,” he said, “is Second Amendment issues.”

Kohser, 41, drives a white pickup truck, smokes cigars and views America as being jaggedly splintered along ideological lines that make it hard to find common ground.

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