Lopsided Trade with China Continues to Cost Americans Millions of Jobs, Study Confirms

Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch

Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch Digital Media Director, Alliance for American Manufacturing

America’s trade deficit with China has cost 3.4 million U.S. jobs since 2001 and is a major contributor to widening economic inequality, according to a study released Tuesday by the Economic Policy Institute.

Not surprisingly, the manufacturing sector has suffered the most because of America’s lopsided trade relationship with China, losing 2.5 million jobs between 2001 and 2017. But every state and every congressional district has seen job loss as a direct result of the growing China trade deficit, and the study shows that the wider economy continues to be dragged down by the growing deficit.

“Some regions are devastated by layoffs and factory closings, while others are surviving but not growing the way they could be if new factories were opening and existing plants were hiring more workers,” authors Robert E. Scott and Zane Mokhiber write. “This slowdown in manufacturing job generation also is contributing to stagnating wages… and widening income inequality.”

That’s putting it mildly. Workers directly impacted by job loss saw their incomes dwindle by $37 billion per year between 2001 and 2011 alone, the study finds. But the wages of all non-college graduates dropped by $180 billion per year, as import competition from China led to job loss and shifted company profits to those at the top of the economic ladder.

While the data might conjure up images of rundown factories in the industrial midwest, it’s a high-tech sector — the computer and electronic parts industry — that suffered the most job loss, shedding 1.2 million jobs from 2001 to 2017. And tech-friendly California saw the most total jobs lost because of the trade deficit: 562,500. Texas followed close behind, losing 314,000 jobs, followed by New York (183,500), Illinois (148,200) and Pennsylvania (136,100).

If you break the job loss data down as a share of total state employment, New Hampshire places first, losing 3.55 percent of its total jobs from 2001 to 2017 because of the deficit. Oregon comes in second, losing 3.36 percent of its jobs, followed by California, which lost 3.34 percent. You can check out the rest of the state data in the chart below:

The EPI report is filled with detailed data on how the China trade deficit is impacting various sectors of the economy, and it’s worth a deeper dive. But as AAM’s own Scott Paul noted, the main takeaway is that our current trade relationship with China — driven in large part by China’s continued trade cheating — has had real-life consequences in all American communities.

“Millions of hard-working Americans have been sidelined by China’s unfair trade practices, and also by our government’s unwillingness to respond,” Paul said.

Several Members of Congress from both parties also weighed in the new report — and a prevailing theme was that far more must be done to balance America’s trade relationship with China.

“Our manufacturing industry lifts families up with good wages, good benefits, and opportunities for career advancement,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio). “Our workers can compete with anyone — but they need a level playing field. That’s why trade enforcement against countries like China is critical to preventing more layoffs.”

Republican Rep. Robert Aderholt (Ala.) echoed Brown’s sentiments. “China is and has been a bad actor when it comes to trade deficits. Simply put, their markets should be as open to our products as our markets are to theirs,” he said.

You can find additional comments from Members of Congress here, including statements from Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Reps. Lou Barletta (R-Ala.), Rick Crawford (R-Ark.), Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.), Rick Nolan (D-Minn.) and Pete Visclosky (D-Ind.).

You can read the full report here, and stay tuned on the blog for additional insight from Scott Paul and Robert E. Scott.

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Reposted from AAM

Posted In: Allied Approaches, From Alliance for American Manufacturing

Union Matters

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: National Association of Letter Carriers

From the AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the National Association of Letter Carriers.

Name of Union: National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)

Mission: To unite fraternally all city letter carriers employed by the U.S. Postal Service for their mutual benefit; to obtain and secure rights as employees of the USPS and to strive at all times to promote the safety and the welfare of every member; to strive for the constant improvement of the Postal Service; and for other purposes. NALC is a single-craft union and is the sole collective-bargaining agent for city letter carriers.

Current Leadership of Union: Fredric V. Rolando serves as president of NALC, after being sworn in as the union's 18th president in 2009. Rolando began his career as a letter carrier in 1978 in South Miami before moving to Sarasota in 1984. He was elected president of Branch 2148 in 1988 and served in that role until 1999. In the ensuing years, he worked in various roles for NALC before winning his election as a national officer in 2002, when he was elected director of city delivery. In 2006, he won election as executive vice president. Rolando was re-elected as NALC president in 2010, 2014 and 2018.

Brian Renfroe serves as executive vice president, Lew Drass as vice president, Nicole Rhine as secretary-treasurer, Paul Barner as assistant secretary-treasurer, Christopher Jackson as director of city delivery, Manuel L. Peralta Jr. as director of safety and health, Dan Toth as director of retired members, Stephanie Stewart as director of the Health Benefit Plan and James W. “Jim” Yates as director of life insurance.

Number of Members: 291,000 active and retired letter carriers.

Members Work As: City letter carriers.

Industries Represented: The United States Postal Service.

History: In 1794, the first letter carriers were appointed by Congress as the implementation of the new U.S. Constitution was being put into effect. By the time of the Civil War, free delivery of city mail was established and letter carriers successfully concluded a campaign for the eight-hour workday in 1888. The next year, letter carriers came together in Milwaukee and the National Association of Letter Carriers was formed.

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work