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Trade-Related Job Loss by State


NOTE: The data displayed in each state's page when the map above is clicked represents net changes in total manufacturing employment and estimates of job loss on a statewide basis. For workplace-specific information from our Trade Adjustment Assistance database, see here.

The reduction of tariffs on foreign goods and/or elimination of import quotas results in the elimination of companies and/or industries whose products are undercut by increases in foreign imports. One of the key factors that determine whether a foreign-made good is cheaper than the domestic good is the cost of labor in the country of origin. Workers losing jobs to imports or plant relocations overseas -- and the communities and regions reliant on economic sectors destroyed by such shifts--find their futures uncertain. Even the strongest proponents of "free trade" theory believe in trying to assist these workers and communities to adjust to their altered futures, if for no other reason than to take the edge off of the anger about job-losing trade policies.

Federally-funded programs that provide assistance to U.S. workers who lose their jobs because of U.S. trade policy--such as those in "import-sensitive" industries--have existed since 1962. These programs involve a "certification" process (usually initiated by worker groups, unions or company officials) to confirm that workers are eligible for assistance because they lost their jobs to trade or because they are members of a category of targeted workers. Under existing programs, a group application must first be filed and approved by the Department of Labor, after which each individual worker must then apply for benefits through a local Unemployment Insurance (UI) agency office. Certified workers that enroll in training at a program-approved facility can then qualify for a range of benefits that include income support after state UI benefits are exhausted, a refundable tax credit for certain health care plans and reimbursement of job search and relocation expenses.

The Trade Adjustment Assistance data compiled by the Department of Labor capture only a limited number of total job losses caused by trade liberalization and corporate globalization. Only certain workers in specific types of industries who lose jobs are eligible and of these, for a variety of reasons, many will not apply for assistance through these programs. It has been estimated, for example, that less than 10 percent of all workers who lost their jobs in import-sensitive manufacturing industries in 1999 received TAA benefits that year (Howard Rosen, "Reforming Trade Adjustment Assistance" February 26, 2002).

These databases do, however, provide examples of geographic areas and economic sectors particularly hard hit by trade and globalization. They list specific jobs certified by the government as having been lost to trade. Although only the tip of the iceberg, they provide a sample of real people's experiences.

If you click on your state, you’ll find information about total manufacturing job losses and more. We include data from the U.S. government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) about the overall loss of manufacturing jobs by state – due to both trade and other causes. Moreover, we include estimates from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), a D.C. research group, on the number of additional jobs that could have been supported with balanced trade with China and the NAFTA countries. The three separate measures – from the TAA program, BLS and EPI – help provide a fuller picture of the impact of U.S. trade policy on jobs in your community.

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