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  • Unemployed autoworker Donald Coy, who was laid off from Ross's auto-parts plant, is pictured in front of the former manufacturing plant in Canton, Ohio, U.S., Jan.14, 2017.

    Unemployed autoworker Donald Coy, who was laid off from Ross's auto-parts plant, is pictured in front of the former manufacturing plant in Canton, Ohio, U.S., Jan.14, 2017. | Photo: Reuters

Published 17 January 2017

Wilbur Ross, whose fortune is estimated by Forbes magazine at $2.5 billion's, has a track record that clashes with Trump's promise to protect U.S. workers.

Billionaire Wilbur Ross, chosen by Donald Trump to help implement the president-elect's trade agenda, earned his fortune in part by running businesses that have offshored thousands of U.S. jobs, according to Labor Department data attained by Reuters.

As a high-stakes investor a decade ago, Ross specialized in turning around troubled manufacturing companies at a time when the U.S. economy was losing more than 100,000 jobs yearly due to global trade. A Senate confirmation hearing on his nomination to become commerce secretary is set for Wednesday.

Supporters say Ross saved thousands of U.S. jobs by rescuing firms from failure. Data attained by Reuters through a Freedom of Information Act request shows that rescue effort came at a price: textile, finance and auto-parts companies controlled by the private-equity titan eliminated about 2,700 U.S. positions since 2004 because they shipped production to other countries, according to a Labor Department program that assists workers who lose their jobs due to global trade. 

The figures, which have not previously been disclosed, amount to a small fraction of the U.S. economy, which sees employment fluctuate by the tens of thousands of jobs each month. 

That disconnect could draw attention at his hearing, one of many scheduled this week for Cabinet nominees ahead of Trump's Jan. 20 inauguration.

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