Walmart’s Imports Cost 400,000 American Jobs

By Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch
Dec 09 2015 |

Most of the jobs lost were in manufacturing, a new study finds.

Look, we hate to say we told you so. But we totally told you so.

For the past two years, Walmart has undertaken a massive public relations campaign touting its efforts to encourage American manufacturing. And for the past two years, we’ve kindly pointed out that the company’s efforts are, well, nothing more than a sham.

While the retail giant has committed to purchasing an additional $250 billion in products supporting U.S. jobs over 10 years, it also has increased its imports, especially from countries like China. And a new study from our friends at the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) confirms that all those imports have had a devastating impact for workers here at home.

More than 400,000 U.S. jobs were lost from 2001 to 2013 because of the U.S. goods trade deficit with China, according to the study by Robert Scott.  Most of these jobs were in manufacturing — Walmart’s contribution to the increased trade deficit with China eliminated 314,500 manufacturing jobs, according to EPI.

As Scott told The New York Times:

“Walmart is one of the major forces pulling imports into the United States. And the jobs we’re losing are good-paying manufacturing jobs, which pay higher wages and provide better benefits.”

And as for Walmart’s big American job creation push? Well, EPI found that “very few actual U.S. jobs” have been created by the program. In fact, more than 100 U.S. jobs were lost for every “actual or promised job” created.

The job losses coincide with China’s entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001. Walmart isn’t alone, of course, when it comes to increasing its imports after China joined the WTO.

But Walmart is perhaps the worst offender. As we noted earlier this year, it boasts of relationships with nearly 20,000 Chinese suppliers. In 2014, it imported 775,400 shipping containers — almost 255,000 more than the No. 2 importer, Target.

Walmart alone is responsible for a $36.7 billion increase in the U.S. trade deficit with China between 2001 and 2013, according to EPI. That’s 15.3 percent of the total growth in the deficit during the time period. By importing so much stuff from China, Walmart is aiding China’s trade cheating, including the nation’s currency manipulation, unfair trade practices and abuse of labor rights.