Thirty miles west of Cleveland along the Lake Erie shoreline sits a town named Lorain, Ohio. Famous for being the birthplace of Toni Morrison, Lorain was once a bustling steel town that drew people from all over the country for manufacturing work. Even the high school football team was named “The Steelmen.” But today, like many Rust Belt towns, Lorain shows signs of decay: ramshackle houses, vacant buildings covered in graffiti, and abandoned plants and factories — lots of them.
Thanks to the exodus of manufacturing jobs in the United States under NAFTA, Lorain was struggling long before the economic crisis of 2008. In 2000, the per capita income in Lorain was about $16,000; 17% of all residents lived below the poverty line.
But after Trump announced a 25% tariff on steel and a 10% tariff on aluminum beginning in March 2018, the people of Lorain got a bit of good news. Republic Steel, whose Lorain mill had gone idle in 2016, announced it was coming back to the city, promising to create 1,000 jobs. Production is slated to begin this spring.