Bloomberg News

China Trade Imbalance Costs 2.7 Million U.S. Jobs: Report

August 23, 2012

A $295 billion trade deficit with China resulted in the loss of 2.7 million U.S. jobs in the past decade, with the biggest impact in California’s Silicon Valley, according to a report from the Economic Policy Institute.

China’s failure to let its currency appreciate while also repressing labor rights and keeping wages down has led to more than 2.1 million lost manufacturing jobs, according to the report released today in Washington. That total includes more than a million jobs in the computer and electronics parts industry. Industries including apparel, textiles and fabricated metal-products lost about 600,000 jobs, according to the report.

“The onus is on the U.S. and other nations to do something about currency manipulation,” Robert Scott, who wrote the report and is a former economist the University of Maryland, said in an interview.

President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney have pledged stronger enforcement of trade actions against China ahead of the U.S. elections in November. In recent months, the Obama administration has imposed duties on several types of products from China, prompting retaliation and an escalation of trade tensions between the world’s two largest economies.

The most populous U.S. states have hit hardest, according to the EPI, a group that describes itself as dedicated to policies to improve conditions for low-and middle-income workers.

California lost 474,700 jobs, or almost 3 percent of its workforce, from the trade imbalance, according to the report. Texas lost 239,600 jobs and New York lost 158,800, according to the report.

A representative from the Chinese embassy in Washington didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment.

The jobs that remain pay less as U.S. producers try to compete with the cheaper imports, further hurting the economy, according to the report. China’s growth has been “unbalanced and unsustainable” as inflation continues to increase and the nation remains too dependent on exports rather than domestic demand, the institute said in the report.

To contact the reporter on this story: William McQuillen in Washington at bmcquillen@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jon Morgan at jmorgan97@bloomberg.net


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