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Breakingviews: Silicon Valley tries to out-Trump Trump on jobs

Gina Chon
(L-R) Amazon's chief Jeff Bezos, Larry Page of Alphabet, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg , Vice President-elect Mike Pence and President-elect Donald Trump attend a meeting at Trump Tower December 14, 2016 in New York.
Timothy A. Clary | AFP | Getty Images

Silicon Valley is trying to out-Trump Donald Trump on jobs. Amazon wants to add tens of thousands of employees to its ranks while Google is donating millions of dollars to training. Touting such plans is partly a response to fears that tech will, like trade, be blamed for killing jobs as automation and artificial intelligence take hold.

Trade became a surprise target during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, symbolizing globalization run amok for both political parties. Trump backed out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership shortly after taking office and has threatened to pull out of NAFTA. Republicans and centrist Democrats who traditionally support trade were caught off guard.

Tech firms are trying to get ahead of potentially similar repercussions. Amazon held a job fair on Wednesday to hire 50,000 workers – and hopes to sign up double that amount by next summer. It also pays for hourly associates to obtain a two-year degree in an in-demand field like medical lab technology or aircraft mechanics.