I hope GM can retool plants quickly says Steven Mnuchin

As General Motors prepares to shed around 15,000 workers as it ups its focus on electric vehicles, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says there is still a lot of demand for SUVs and light trucks.

“What we’re seeing particularly with lower gas prices is additional demand for SUV, light trucks... [and] less demand for the small  passenger vehicle,” he told FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo on Tuesday.

Global oil prices have tanked in recent weeks, with per barrel prices of U.S. oil hovering around the $53 level. As a result, prices at the pump are below $2 per gallon in many states, as reported by FOX Business.

GM rocked the nation last week with its announcement to cut about 15 percent of its salaried North American workforce. President Trump, via a tweet, threatened to yank the automaker’s subsidies for electric vehicles.

On Wednesday, GM CEO Mary Barra plans to meet with Ohio Senators on Capitol Hill to discuss the job cuts tied to the decision to end production of six vehicles and plans to shutter 5 manufacturing plants in North America. Barra has already met with White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow on the layoffs.

However Mnuchin is hopeful that GM will put people back to work very quickly.

“I think as you know in the manufacturing process of autos they’ve got to retool factories,” he said.  “I’m not aware of the exact specifics, but I hope that GM can retool these plants for other factories and that they can move things around.”

Mnuchin added that one of his top priorities is to create more U.S. jobs and there’s “a lot of demand” for autoworkers.

The U.S. unemployment rate is sitting at 3.7 percent the lowest level since 1969, while the number of job openings exceeds those looking for work.

Fresh government jobs data for November will be released on Friday.