Chinese Trade Deficit Cost American Workers $37 Billion in 2011

The growing trade deficit with China cost the U.S. economy $37 billion in wages in 2011 alone, and eliminated over 2.1 million manufacturing jobs from 2001 to 2011, according to a new Economic Policy Institute report.

Manufacturing jobs have long been a staple of the U.S. economy; providing good jobs and livable wages to workers. Average wages in manufacturing are 18.4 percent higher than average wages in all other industries.

“Unfair and poorly-managed trade deals are shipping jobs out of the U.S. every day, and taking our middle class with them,” said IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger. “The Machinists Union continues to advocate for fair trade agreements that keep hard-working Americans in good-paying jobs.”

With U.S. manufacturing jobs being eliminated, access to employer-sponsored health insurance has also declined. More than two-thirds of manufacturing workers have employer-sponsored health insurance, while only 52 percent of private-sector workers in other industries enjoy the same benefits.

And the trade deficit affected minorities even more than the general population. For the 958,800 minority workers displaced by growing China trade deficits, net wage losses totaled $10.1 billion per year.

“The displacement of manufacturing and trade-related jobs has been extremely costly for the economy, hitting America’s working families especially hard,” said report author and EPI Director of Trade and Manufacturing Policy Research Robert E. Scott. “Allowing the U.S.-China trade deficit to continue growing would eliminate many more jobs in manufacturing—a bedrock of the U.S. economy—and further erode the wages of U.S. workers.”

Click here to read to entire report.