February 3, 2020

How Much Does The Trade Deficit With China Cost The United States?

A new report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) attempts to answer that question. According to the EPI, the gap rose by more than $150 billion between the beginning of the Great Recession and 2018 and “is a significant reason why manufacturing employment has not fully recovered along with the rest of the economy.”

The report also found:

  • The rising trade gap was responsible for the loss of 1.7 million jobs lost across the United States since 2008, three-fourths of which were in manufacturing;
  • The 10 hardest-hit states, when looking at job loss as a share of total state employment, were New Hampshire, Oregon, California, North Carolina, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Vermont, Indiana, and Idaho.
  • Surging imports of steel, aluminum, and other capital-intensive products continue to threaten hundreds of thousands of jobs in key industries such as primary metals, machinery, and fabricated metal products as well. EPI said these three sectors alone have already lost 372,700 jobs due to the growing U.S.-China trade deficit.
  • China is exporting goods to the U.S. through other countries. (EPI notes, “This is an important topic for future research.”)
  • Between 2001 and 2011 alone, the trade gap reduced the incomes of directly impacted workers by $37 billion per year.