In persuading Carrier to keep hundreds of jobs in Indiana, President-elect Donald Trump is claiming victory on behalf of factory workers whose positions were bound for Mexico.

But the president of the company's union claims Mr Trump "lied his a** off" about the deal.

United Steelworkers 1999 President Chuck Jones said he was optimistic when Mr Trump first promised to save 1350 jobs.

President-elect Donald Trump talks with workers during a visit to the Carrier factory. Photo / AP
President-elect Donald Trump talks with workers during a visit to the Carrier factory. Photo / AP

The company had originally planned to move the positions to Mexico but decided to keep 730 in Indiana after receiving $US7 million in tax breaks. Mr Jones hoped Mr Trump would explain at a December 1 meeting that 550 jobs were not saved.

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"But he got up there and, for whatever reason, lied his a** off," Mr Jones told The Washington Post. "Trump and (Vice President-elect Mike) Pence, they pulled a dog and pony show on the numbers. I almost threw up in my mouth."

While Mr Trump claimed 1100 jobs were staying in the US, Mr Jones said the numbers were misleading and included jobs that weren't going to move to Mexico.

Associated Press reports the deal spares about 800 union workers whose jobs were going to be outsourced to Mexico, according to federal officials who were briefed by the heating and air conditioning company. This suggests that hundreds will still lose their jobs at the factory.

"There's excitement with most people, but there's a lot of scepticism and worry because we don't know the details," said TJ Bray, 32, who has worked for Carrier for 14 years and installs insulation in furnaces. "There's a few that are worried. And there's still a few that don't even believe this is real. They think it's a play, a set-up or a scam."

Senator Joe Donnelly, an Indiana Democrat, said he also has lingering questions about what the announcement could mean for the workers.

"Who is going to be retained? What is the structure there will be for the retention? What is going to be put in place?" Senator Donnelly said. "Are these the same jobs at the same wage? I would sure like to know as soon as I can."

Donald Trump and Mike Pence visit the Carrier air conditioning and heating company in Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo / AP
Donald Trump and Mike Pence visit the Carrier air conditioning and heating company in Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo / AP

Whatever deal Mr Trump struck with Carrier does not appear to have salvaged jobs at a separate branch of United Technologies in Huntington, Indiana, that makes microprocessor-based controls for the heating, air conditioning and refrigeration industries. That branch will move manufacturing operations to a new plant in Mexico, costing the city 700 jobs by 2018.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said that Mr Trump would have to replicate the Carrier deal 804 times to meet President Barack Obama's record. He said that Mr Obama created 805,000 jobs in manufacturing and that the figure is much higher if existing jobs that have been protected are included.

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