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Study: 2.1 million US manufacturing jobs lost to China

August 27, 2012

WASHINGTON (Aug. 27, 12:30 p.m. ET) — The U.S. has lost more than 2.7 million jobs — 2.1 million in manufacturing alone — since 2001, because of the U.S. trade deficit with China, according to a study by the Economic Policy Institute.

Between 2001 — the year China entered the World Trade Organization — and 2011, more than half the U.S. manufacturing jobs eliminated during that period were lost because of the trade deficit with China, the study said. Some 662,100 jobs were lost between 2008 and 2011 alone, despite the plunge in Chinese exports to the U.S. in 2009, it said. Those exports have since recovered and now surpass pre-2008 levels, according to the EPI.

Plastic and rubber products alone accounted for 57,600 lost U.S. jobs, with motor vehicles and parts accounting for 9,800, the study said. The computer and electronic parts industry accounted for more than 1 million lost jobs, it said.

California lost 474,700 jobs, nearly twice as many as Texas, in second place with 239,600, the study said. Also experiencing massive losses were New York (158,800 jobs), Illinois (113,700), North Carolina (110,300), Florida (106,100), Pennsylvania (101,200), Ohio (95,900), Massachusetts (92,700) and Georgia (87,300).

Chinese imports accounted for 55.3 percent of all non-oil imports to the U.S. from less-developed countries in 2011, the study said. In addition to job loss and displacement, Chinese imports have also reduced the wages and bargaining power of non-college-educated U.S. workers, who total about 100 million or 70 percent of the U.S. work force, it said.

“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,” said Scott Paul, executive director of the Alliance for American Manufacturing. The AAM is a coalition of the United Steelworkers union and various U.S. manufacturers.