Foxconn's Wisconsin plant won't bring as many jobs as promised

It's expected to employ 1,500 people when it opens in May.

Sean Keane Former Senior Writer
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Sean Keane
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President Donald Trump attends Foxconn groundbreaking

President Donald Trump and Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou attend the groundbreaking for the company's plant in Mt. Pleasant, Wisconsin, in June 2018.

Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images

Foxconn will kick off production at its Wisconsin plant in May with 1,500 employees, Gov. Tony Evers told CNBC this week. That's considerably fewer than the 13,000 that Foxconn and President Donald Trump have said the factory would hire since a 2017 announcement at the White House.

The Taiwan-based electronics maker is best known for assembling Apple's iPhone and providing parts for other tech companies' gadgets. It intends to build LCD screens at the Wisconsin plant.

Foxconn's deal with Wisconsin means it must create 1,820 jobs by the end of 2020 to get up to $270 million in tax credits. The company missed its 2018 target of 260 jobs. Ultimately, it must hit a 13,000 goal by 2032 to qualify for subsidies of around $3 billion. 

Watch this: Foxconn breaks ground on first US factory

In an emailed statement, Foxconn focused on the construction of the "nearly 1 million square-foot facility" at the Wisconn Valley Science and Technology Park.

"Over the first year of work in Wisconsin, Foxconn has invested more than $150 million in construction contracts to Wisconsin-based businesses, supporting more than 1,000 jobs across 54 out of 72 Wisconsin counties for construction alone," a spokesperson wrote.

It's not the first time Evers has tempered expectations for the project, having noted that Foxconn had "shrunk their expectations" back in April. The Democrat inherited the deal from Republican predecessor Scott Walker, who helped woo Foxconn to Wisconsin with the largest incentive in state history. During his election campaign, Evers took a critical stance on Walker's dealings with the company. 

Evers' office didn't respond to a request for comment.

First published July 11 at 4:10 a.m. PT.
Update, July 12 at 1:47 a.m. PT: Adds Foxconn statement.