Trade and American Jobs: The Impact of Trade on U.S. and State-Level Employment: 2019 Update



Dr. Joseph Francois and Laura M. Baughman | Trade Partnership Worldwide LLC

Executive Summary: 

U.S. trade continues to expand, and with it, U.S. employment. Based on the latest available data (2017) and taking into account both the gains and the losses (i.e., a net estimate), trade supports nearly 39 million U.S. jobs. This means that one in every five U.S. jobs is linked to exports and imports of goods and services. Nearly two times as many jobs were supported by trade in 2017 as in 1992 – before the accelerated wave of trade liberalization that began with the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994 – when our earlier research found that trade supported 14.5 million net jobs, or one in every ten U.S. jobs.

• As U.S. trade — both exports and imports — has grown over the past two decades, caused in part by trade liberalizing international agreements, so has the number of U.S. jobs tied to trade. Indeed, trade-dependent U.S. jobs have grown more than four times as fast as U.S. jobs generally.

• Every U.S. state has realized net employment gains directly attributable to trade.

• Trade has a positive net impact on U.S. jobs in both the services and manufacturing sectors.

• U.S. trade with our NAFTA partners, as well as with Europe, Japan, Korea and China, among others, accounts for important shares of this trade related employment. In 2017, trade with Canada supported, on net, 7.2 million jobs; Mexico, 4.9 million jobs; European Union (27), 5.7 million jobs; China, 7.3 million jobs; Japan, 1.3 million jobs; and Korea and the UK, just over 1 million jobs each.

Trade and Employment USA

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