Noting its role in reviving the US economy and creating jobs, President Barack Obama will today visit a steel plant owned by NRI tycoon Lakshmi Mittal whose company is the largest supplier of steel to the US auto manufacturing sector.
The White House said Obama's visit to the plant in Cleveland in the state of Ohio, is in recognition of ArcelorMittal not only reviving the plant and bringing back people who had lost their jobs during the economic crisis but also for creating new jobs.
Obama will take a tour of the plant and deliver remarks on the economy, White House officials said.
Auto suppliers like ArcelorMittal employ many times more workers than the auto companies alone, and the interdependence between the auto companies and their suppliers, dealers, and communities are what led some experts to estimate that if GM and Chrysler were allowed to liquidate, one million jobs or more could have been lost, according to White House officials.
They said due to increased demand for steel, factories like the Cleveland facility, which sends roughly half of the steel it produces to the auto sector, are again brimming with activity and hiring.
Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal is the world's largest steel producer, besides being the largest supplier of steel to the US auto manufacturing sector.
Industries like steel that rely heavily on demand from the auto manufacturers, including fabricated metals and machinery, have been the source of most of US manufacturing job growth since early 2010, officials said.
The workers at ArcelorMittal that were furloughed during the downturn in 2008 have been brought back, and as a result of new recent investments, the company has hired an additional 150 people, White House officials noted.
On the eve of his visit, officials said when Obama took office in 2009, the economy was in freefall and the American auto industry was shedding jobs by the hundreds of thousands.
General Motors and Chrysler Ė iconic brands that long represented American manufacturing prowess Ė were on the brink of failure.
As a result, steel manufacturers like ArcelorMittal that relied on demand from the auto sector faced extreme hardship.
"As part of the effort to stem the damage from the financial crisis and return the country to a path of economic recovery, the President made the tough choice to help provide the auto industry the temporary support it needed to grow and prosper," officials said.
"As a result of that decision, GM and Chrysler have roared back to