Imports, meanwhile, skyrocketed. That hurt job growth.
Our friends at the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) are out with new research finding that the Obama administration failed to meet its goal of doubling exports between 2009 to 2014, one of the key components of the National Export Initiative.
It wasn’t even close, EPI’s Robert Scott notes. Exports increased by $766 billion, or about 48.4 percent. Meanwhile, imports increased by $883.8 billion, which led to an increase of $117 billion in the trade deficit.
While exports did go up — and added some jobs to the economy — increases in imports led to significant job loss, since the imports displaced goods that would have been otherwise made here at home. That trade deficit thus hindered job growth in the United States, Scott explains:
Growing trade deficits have eliminated millions of jobs in the United States, and put downward pressure on employment in manufacturing, which competes directly with most imported products. For example, growing trade deficits with China alone have displaced 3.2 million U.S. jobs between 2001 (when China entered the WTO) and 2013, with 1.3 million of those jobs lost since 2009 alone.
If the Obama administration is serious about increasing exports, officials need to get serious about currency manipulation by countries such as China, Scott argues. Ending currency manipulation could create up to 5.8 million jobs in just three years.
As Scott writes:
The United States can double exports in the next five years, but only if we are willing implement tough new policies to end currency manipulation. The first step is to acknowledge the elephant in the room, and to recognize that China and other countries have been engaged in damaging currency manipulation that has increased U.S. trade deficits and cost millions of U.S. jobs.