Everyone knows that we have lost a lot of jobs to China since 2001. Now you can find out exactly how many, and where.
The Alliance for American Manufacturing and Economic Policy Institute released a report today titled, “Unfair China Trade Costs Local Jobs” by EPI's Robert Scott. Along with the report AAM has set up a website with an interactive map that shows job losses to by state and Congressional District.
It's bad. According to the report, between 2001 and 2008, 2.4 million jobs were lost or displaced with losses occurring in every Congressional district. (Note - This report does not track service industry job losses, and does not track indirect job losses.)
Here's the surprise: since 2001 we have lost more tech jobs than manufacturing jobs! -- We lost 628,000 tech jobs -26 percent of all jobs displaced by trade- between 2001 and 2008.
The main unfair advantages China uses to its advantage are:
1) Currency manipulation. China "pegs" its currency at a very low, or "weak" rate, so goods from China cost up to 40% less than they otherwise should.
2) Labor-rights suppression has lowered manufacturing wages of Chinese workers by 47% to 86%.
3) There is massive direct government subsidization of export production in many key industries.
4) China allows environmental degradation that ends up affecting all of us.
5) Intellectual property theft and piracy mean that American products that could be sold are stolen instead.
6) China has a number of policies that block U.S. firms from market access.
I joined a press conference call announcing this report, with Senators Charles Shumer (D-NY) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC).
Senators Schumer and Graham are introducing legislation in which "the wiggle room will be gone" and the Treasury Department must cite the Chinese for currency manipulation if currency is misaligned without having to say there is "intent," and impose additional penalties. Schumer:
"In the past Dem and Rep admins turned a blind eye to this problem. We are tired of the Chinese not playing by the rules that everyone else has to play by.
Later on the call Senator Schumer said,
Imagine if you had two stores across the street and one had a 40% price advantage – could charge 40% less than the other, where do you think people would shop?
[. . .] Every day we wait is a day we lose wealth, we lose economic advantage, we lose jobs.
It is hard for American political leaders to keep their head in the sand any longer. ... To ignore China''s currency manipulation is to ignore economic reality and the way economics works. ... I am hopeful they [the Treasury Dept.] will go ahead and speak truth to power and the truth is that China's currency is misaligned.
Previous administrations allowed all of this to continue with impunity. It is time to do something about it and bring the world's trade back toward some kind of balance.