- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 8, 2016

United States Steel CEO Mario Longhi said Wednesday that he would be “more than happy” to rehire laid-off employees now that Donald Trump has won the presidency.

The Pittsburgh-based company’s stocks have reportedly risen 80 percent since Mr. Trump’s election, and Mr. Longhi told CNBC’s “Power Lunch” that he hopes to “accelerate investments.”

“We already structured to do some things, but when you see in the near future improvement to the tax laws, improvements to regulation, those two things by themselves may be a significant driver to what we’re going to do,” he said.

Mr. Longhi said he hadn’t seen this level of optimism in the industry in a long time.

“I have not felt an environment of positive optimism where forces are converging to provide for a better environment in quite a while,” he said. “And this is pretty widespread. Customer suppliers, you know, throughout the communities.”

Mr. Longhi said his employees are “absolutely” optimistic, adding, “I’d be more than happy to bring back the employees we’ve been forced to lay off during that depressive period.”

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“It could be close to 10,000 [jobs],” he said.

U.S. Steel later clarified that Mr. Longhi was “referring to the American steel industry overall, not just to employees of United States Steel Corporation,” CNBC reported.

U.S. Steel had about 21,000 employees as of Dec. 31, down from about 28,000 in 2007, Reuters reported.

Though the industry is cheering Mr. Trump’s promises of less regulation, Mr. Longhi said it “has to be done smartly.”

“There was a point in time in the past couple years that I was having to hire more lawyers to try to interpret these new regulations than I was hiring … engineers,” he said. “That doesn’t make any sense.”

Mr. Longhi said he hasn’t spoken with Mr. Trump since his election.

Dave Dowling, director of the United Steelworkers Union chapter in Granite City, Illinois, said he is cautiously optimistic about Mr. Longhi’s comments, a local CBS News affiliate reported.

“We’re looking for the details of course,” Mr. Dowling said. “He didn’t offer details about how many jobs might be added to the employment rolls at U.S. Steel and wasn’t specific about when.”

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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