Report On Job Cost Of Trade Deficit With China

Dave Johnson

We as a country have been running enormous trade deficits that enormously benefit our 1% at the expense of the rest of us. As a country we get poorer while they get richer, so they want things to stay just the way they are. And that is where we are today — an increasingly poorer country with an increasingly richer 1%.

Trade Deficit

As a country, a trade deficit is very bad for us. A trade deficit means we as a country buy more from other countries than we sell to other countries. This is a way that a country actually is like a household. A household has to bring in at least as much as it spends, or it eats its savings and then borrows. (A government’s budget is not like a family’s finances, but that is another story — our real deficit problem is the trade deficit.)

But the problem is that the things that cause that trade deficit benefit a few wealthy, powerful and influential people here enormously. And those people of course want things to stay the way they are. If YOU get rich closing a factory, laying off the workers, moving the machines to China, bringing the same goods back here to sell in the same stores, YOU are doing just fine. But the people who worked in the factory, and the places where those people bought their clothes and food, and the town the factory was in are, and the wages of the rest of us in the country … well look around you at any town that had a factory and you can see what happens.

But … the person who closed the factory is rich, and THAT person can use that money to buy corporate/conservative think tanks that tell lies, and buy ads that tell lies, and elect politicians that keep things the way they are for the people who are making all the money off of the way things are. And that is where we are today — an increasingly poorer country with an increasingly richer 1%.

New Report On Job Loss To China

So just how many jobs are lost to trade deficits? A new report, The China Toll, takes a look at the effect of our trade deficit with China since that country joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) ten years ago, and comes up with some very specific numbers. In summary:

“Growing U.S. trade deficit with China cost more than 2.7 million jobs between 2001 and 2011, with job losses in every state”

The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) released the report, The China toll, Thursday.

According to the report,

Between 2001 and 2011, the trade deficit with China eliminated or displaced more than half of all U.S. manufacturing jobs lost over that period. The growing trade deficit with China has cost jobs in every congressional district in all 50 states as well as in the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

The total losses include 662,100 jobs from 2008 to 2011 alone—even though imports from China and the rest of the world plunged in 2009 before recovering and surpassing the previous peak reached in 2008. The trade deficit in the computer and electronic parts industry grew the most, displacing more than 1 million jobs in high-tech industries. In fact, rapidly growing imports of computer and electronic parts, including computers, semiconductors and audio-video equipment, accounted for nearly 55 percent of the $217.5 billion increase in the U.S. trade deficit with China between 2001 and 2011.

Again: Half of our manufacturing job loss is lost to the trade deficit with China. … The trade deficit in the computer and electronic parts industry grew the most, displacing more than 1 million jobs in high-tech industries.

Scott Paul, Executive Director of the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM), said of the report, “The EPI report offers convincing evidence that, unless China’s trade violations and currency manipulation are challenged forcefully, our growing trade deficit will continue to cripple the fledgling U.S. jobs recovery.”

“Exports to China may have increased since 2000, but imports have soared dramatically in that time,” explained Paul. “This report helps to quantify the millions of U.S. jobs lost due to this widening gulf.”

Map Of Job Loss By State

From AAM: The study found the hardest-hit congressional districts were in California, Texas, Oregon, and Massachusetts, and Minnesota. Some districts in North Carolina, Georgia, Colorado, and Alabama also were hit especially hard by job displacement in a variety of manufacturing industries, including computers and electronic parts, textiles and apparel, and furniture.

The Alliance for American Manufacturing has an interactive map showing job losses by state.

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