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Wal-Mart, General Motors reaffirm jobs long planned, Trump says thanks
















By Nandita Bose

(Reuters) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc <WMT.N> and General Motors Co <GM.N> on Tuesday became the latest companies to win praise from President-elect Donald Trump for adding U.S. jobs and investment, even though much of their plans were previously announced.

Wal-Mart will add 10,000 jobs this year while GM announced $1 billion in investment that would create 1,500 U.S. jobs.

Trump, who takes office on Friday, has repeatedly singled out and criticized U.S. companies across industries for not doing more to keep jobs in the United States and has put pressure on them to hire more U.S. workers.

"Thank you to General Motors and Walmart for starting the big jobs push back into the U.S.!" Trump said in a tweet on Tuesday reacting to the moves.

Bringing manufacturing back to the United States was a major theme in Trump's presidential campaign. In a separate tweet he said, "With all of the jobs I am bringing back into the U.S. (even before taking office), with all of the new auto plants coming back into our country ... I believe the people are seeing 'big stuff'."

Announcements by Wal-Mart and GM come as both companies are cutting jobs in the country, and their hiring, which was planned for some time, represent a small increase in their total U.S. workforce.

German drugs and agriculture group Bayer <BAYGn.DE> and U.S. seeds company Monsanto Co <MON.N> also pledged on Tuesday to maintain its more than 9,000 U.S. jobs and add 3,000 new U.S. high-tech positions.. Both companies announced plans to create thousands of high-tech U.S. jobs previously when they announced their merger.

Some of America's largest companies including General Motors, Lockheed Martin Corp <LMT.N> and United Technologies Corp <UTX.N> have been publicly rebuked by Trump on Twitter. Many others are worried they may be his next target - especially if they have significant overseas manufacturing, have cut U.S. jobs or raised prices for consumers.

Trump's criticism of Ford Motor Co <F.N> on Twitter turned to praise after the carmaker scrapped a planned Mexican car factory and added 700 jobs in Michigan earlier this month.

It has also forced overseas companies that sell in the U.S. market to lift their U.S. investment. Hyundai Motor Group <005380.KS> said it plans to increase investment in the United States by 50 percent to $3.1 billion over five years and may build a new plant.

NOT NEW

Both Wal-Mart and GM's new U.S. job plans are also part of previously announced investment plans.

Wal-Mart said it would create 10,000 jobs, equal to less than 1 percent of its U.S. workforce, this year as part of a $6.8 billion capital spending plan announced in October.

General Motors said it would invest an additional $1 billion in its U.S. factories and move some production from Mexico - moves that would create or retain 1,500 jobs. As of December 2015, it employed 97,000 U.S. workers.

GM's announcements also reflected existing plans, not new decisions, company officials and the United Auto Workers union said on Tuesday. The UAW in a statement said the announcement “continues GM investments that have emerged as a result of the 2015 national bargaining agreement” between the union and the automaker.

Both companies have also been cutting jobs recently.

Wal-Mart has been letting thousands of U.S. employees go so it can focus more on e-commerce and putting more staff on the sales floor. GM has also announced plans to lay off about 3,300 employees at three factories in recent months.

Most of Wal-Mart's 10,000 new employees, including hourly workers, department managers and supervisors, will be in 59 new stores that will be opened in the fiscal year beginning in February. The retailer opened 130 stores in the current fiscal year.

(Reporting by Nandita Bose in Chicago; Additional reporting by Joe White in Detroit, Georgina Prodhan in Frankfurt, Karl Plume in Chicago and Sruthi Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Matthew Lewis)

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