Unbalanced U.S. trade with China since 2001 has had a devastating effect on U.S. workers. Between 2001 and 2007, 2.3 million jobs were lost or displaced, including 366,000 in 2007 alone (Scott 2008). These jobs were displaced by the growth of the U.S. trade deficit with China, which increased from $84 billion in 2001 to $262 billion in 2007.
Growing China trade deficits between 2001 and 2007 eliminated jobs in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Jobs displacement exceeded 2.0% of total employment in Idaho, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Oregon, California, Minnesota, Vermont, Texas, and Wisconsin (see Map). The effects of growing trade deficits with China have been felt widely across the United States and no area has been exempt from their impact. While traditional manufacturing states such as Wisconsin, Tennessee, and the Carolinas were certainly hard hit, so too were states in the tech sector such as California, Texas, Oregon, and Minnesota. Rapidly growing imports of computers and electronic parts accounted for almost half of the $178 billion increase and eliminated 561,000 U.S. jobs. Idaho, which lost an estimated 9,000 jobs in computer and electronic products alone, was the hardest-hit state in the country in terms of share of total state employment.
The U.S-China trade relationship needs a fundamental change. Addressing the exchange rate policies and labor standards issues in the Chinese economy are important first steps.
With research assistance by Emily Garr