Enormous, Humongous Trade Deficit Hits Manufacturing Jobs Hard

Dave Johnson

The January trade deficit report is out, along with the February jobs report. The trade deficit is up, and as a result manufacturing jobs aren’t doing all that well. That’s because a trade deficit means that jobs move out of the country. People should be afraid of the trade deficit, not the budget deficit.

Trade Deficit

The U.S. international goods and services trade deficit was $39.1 billion in January, up from $39.0 billion in December. Imagine if companies that make and do things in the U.S. had received an additional $39.1 billion in orders in January. Imagine the new hires at factories and businesses and their suppliers, and then at stores and businesses where those new hires are located, and their suppliers, etc. That is what balanced trade would have meant.

Our goods trade deficit with China alone rose to $27.8 billion in January, up from $24.5 billion in December. China manipulates its currency to lower the world price of things made there. A recent report on the effect of currency manipulation estimated that acting to end currency manipulation would add 5.8 million jobs inside the U.S..

Manufacturing Jobs

The U.S. manufacturing sector added 6,000 jobs in February. But December and January’s manufacturing jobs numbers were revised downward. So President Obama’s goal of adding 1 million manufacturing jobs during his second term is falling far short; the U.S. economy has only added 100,000 manufacturing jobs since President Obama started his second term.

The Alliance for American Manufacturing’s AAMeter is keeping track of President Obama’s goal of adding 1 million new manufacturing jobs. It says the current Jobs Number is + 100,000, so 28,125 manufacturing jobs must be added each month to reach that goal. January was +6,000.

Action Needed

Our government does not take action to end currency manipulation, balance trade, or initiate other steps that would bring millions of jobs and thousands of factories back to the U.S. Ask your elected officials why not. Ask candidates for office what they would do to fix this trade deficit.

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