Report | Wages, Incomes, and Wealth

Manufacturing Employment in North America

Briefing Paper #35

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The Bush administration has been trying to sell the North American Free
Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as a policy that will create jobs in the United States.
The administration has continuously denied that the NAFTA will induce more
American firms to relocate jobs – especially manufacturing jobs – to Mexico,
where manufacturing wages average only about one-seventh of U.S. wages at
present exchange rates,’and are even lower in many occupations.

Administration officials have maintained this position in spite of the fact that the
Mexican government is advertising the agreement to its people as a way of
drawing in large amounts of U.S. direct foreign investment that will create new
industrial jobs – in Mexico.