Apple recently announced it is going to invest $350 billion in the US over the next five years and conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh last week suggested Wisconsin could benefit from at least some of that development. After Apple’s announcement that it would increase its investment into the U.S economy, Limbaugh fueled speculation that the Badger State was being considered for a new Apple facility:
“They will create 20,000 new jobs and build a brand-new campus. Don’t know where. Some of this might be Wisconsin. Well, some of it has to be because there’s been preliminary discussions on creating a factory with some Apple products being manufactured there.”
But Mark Maley, Public Affairs and Communications Director for the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, indicated in an email to Media Trackers that Limbaugh’s comment was off base, at least for the moment:
“On Wednesday, Apple announced it was investing $30 billion in the US over the next five years and create 20,000+ new jobs. This is on top of the 13,000 jobs Foxconn is bringing to WI.
With Foxconn being Apple’s largest supplier, establishing an Apple facility in Wisconsin could increase the synergy between the two companies. WEDC would welcome the opportunity to engage with Apple and make a strong case for why the company should consider establishing operations in Wisconsin. But that has not happened yet.”
In short: Apple and state officials aren’t talking at this point. Earlier Monday, Governor Scott Walker told Media Trackers Communications Director Jerry Bader that while the state would be happy to engage with Apple if they show interest in putting a new facility here, Wisconsin’s low unemployment rate would provide a challenge:
“As we showed with Foxconn, we’re willing and capable to have just about any employer in the world come and create more jobs and opportunities. I do think one of the challenges for a company that big, with a project that big, is going to be because of Foxconn. At some point you can only attract so many employees to a given area and so while we would love to have them, it’s been interesting part of the attacks we’ve been getting from some Democrats is while we’re advertising to bring people in from around the country.
The reason is that we’re getting to the point with 3 percent unemployment, the lowest the state’s ever had, the only other time it’s been matched was May, June, and July of 1999. We’ve got historic levels of employment, historically low levels of unemployment. We’ve advertised to bring more folks in. But if Apple or anyone else wants to come, we will find out a way to bring those people in to fill those positions as well as employ every single person in this state who wants to not just have a job, but a career, going forward.
We are always ready and willing to help any employer that wants to create more opportunities. Whether it’s existing ones that want to grow, or other businesses around the country or around the world for that matter, we want to prosper in the state of Wisconsin and we can make it happen.”
A source in Walker’s office told us that Limbaugh may have been referring to the Foxconn facility coming to Wisconsin. As Maley pointed out, Foxconn is Apple’s largest supplier. It’s possible Limbaugh conflated the two projects.