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Mar-23-2010 22:42TweetFollow @OregonNews
Massive U.S. Job Loss to China Trade
(WASHINGTON D.C.) - The United States is hemorrhaging millions of jobs as a result of the nation’s growing trade deficit, largely with China, according to a report issued today by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). High-tech industries are losing jobs faster than any other sector of the economy, the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) pointed out, and Oregon suffered substantial losses.
Since China joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001, 2.4 million jobs have been lost or displaced in the United States as a result of the burgeoning trade deficit with that nation, the report concludes.
Oregon was among the states hit hard, suffering 38,600 job losses over the seven-year period covered by the EPI study. The job losses have continued despite a dramatic decline in total and China trade deficits that began in the second half of 2009. The 1st congressional district was hit hardest in Oregon.
Growing trade deficits cost jobs in every state and congressional district, the report found, including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico [see Table 4a]. The computer, electronic equipment and parts industries experienced the largest growth in trade deficits with China, resulting in 628,000 job losses—26 percent of all jobs displaced between 2001 and 2008.
The EPI report is the first to break down job losses to the congressional district level. Using the EPI data, AAM created an interactive map showing the impact by CDs (americanmanufacturing.org/china-job-loss). The hardest-hit districts were located in California and Texas, where remaining jobs in these industries are concentrated, and also in North Carolina, which was hit hard by job displacement in a variety of manufacturing industries.
“China’s cheating is causing America to lose more than just the capacity to make widgets in the one-sided trade arrangements with China,” said Scott Paul, AAM’s executive director. “Sophisticated electronics and high-tech products that once were made in the United States are increasingly being made in China instead. We are losing more and more of these good jobs.”
“This intervention makes the yuan artificially cheap and provides an effective subsidy on Chinese exports,” said Robert E. Scott, EPI’s director of international programs, who authored the report. “Unless China raises the real value of the yuan by at least 40 percent and eliminates other trade distortions, the U.S. trade deficit and job losses will continue to grow rapidly.”
“Currency manipulation may sound like a highly technical subject, but its impact is simple,” AAM’s Paul said. “U.S. exports to China cost up to 40 percent more in China and Chinese exports to our consumers enjoy a subsidy of a similar amount. That’s unfair and unacceptable.” AAM is supporting efforts by Congress to penalize currency manipulation, and has urged the Obama administration to acknowledge that China is a currency manipulator, in the Treasury Department report due April 15.
The impact of the China trade deficit is not restricted to the jobs displaced, the report found. Competition with low-wage workers from less-developed countries also has driven down wages for other workers in manufacturing and reduced the wages and bargaining power of similar workers throughout the economy—essentially all production workers with less than a four-year college degree, roughly 80 percent of the private-sector workforce.
For a typical full-time, median-wage earner in 2006, these indirect losses totaled approximately $1,400, according to earlier studies conducted by EPI.
China is the most important source of downward wage pressure from trade with less-developed countries, because it pays very low wages. For example, the report notes, China was responsible for nearly 40 percent of the U.S. non-oil imports from less-developed countries in 2008.
“These findings document what we have been asserting for some time,” Paul said.
“China is undercutting the competitiveness of our manufacturers and undermining the earning power of American workers by routinely failing to honor its global and bilateral commitments.”
China’s share of the U.S. trade surplus has soared, especially in 2009. Since China entered the WTO in 2001, the U.S. trade deficit with China has risen by $186 billion, from $84 billion in 2001 to $270 billion in 2008, an average increase of $26.6 billion per year. Last year alone, China was responsible for more than 80 percent of the United States’ total, non-oil trade deficit in goods.
Rapidly growing imports of computers and electronic parts accounted for more than 40 percent of the $186 billion increase in the trade deficit with China between 2001 and 2008. The $73 billion deficit in advanced technology products with China contributed to the elimination of the 628,000 jobs in computer and electronic products in this period.
The CD job model is based on new data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS), which provides a much richer dataset for analyzing the effects of trade on employment than the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey (CPS) used in prior EPI studies. Because of its large sample size of 3 million addresses per year, the ACS allows for the enhancements of the models for labor force estimates at the state and sub-state levels, the Census Bureau says.
Source: The Alliance for American Manufacturing, a nonpartisan, nonprofit partnership of several leading U.S. manufacturers and the United Steelworkers.