by Donna Martinez
Former Senior Writer and Editor, John Locke Foundation
Actions have consequences, as Reason’s Eric Boehm explains of President Trump’s 25 percent tariff on imported steel.
While some housing can be built with wooden frames, projects taller than about five stories require steel. If steel gets more expensive, construction firms will be forced to reconsider large-scale projects that use large amounts of it. Large-scale, multi-family housing is the best solution to tight housing markets in places like San Francisco and Nashville, but they are the types of construction most likely to be affected by steel tariffs.
More expensive materials and smaller-scale projects might force construction companies to lay off workers. According to a policy brief released by the Trade Partnership, a Washington-based pro-trade think tank, Trump’s tariffs will wipe out about 179,000 jobs—including an estimated 28,000 jobs in the construction industry.