3.7 Million Jobs Lost to China Since 2001

3.7 Million Jobs Lost to China’s Imports Since 2001

700,000 Jobs Lost to China in First Two Years of Trump Presidency

As Voters Head to Polls, Every State Hit Hard

Trump Right to Raise China Issues— But Phase 1 Deal Won’t Solve Problems; More to Do

(Note: State & Congressional District Job-Loss Numbers & Rankings Available)


Washington, D.C. – In the first two years of the Trump presidency, more than 700,000 U.S. jobs were lost to China as the U.S. trade deficit with China ballooned 21% to $420 billion in 2018, according to a new report released today. That continued a nearly 20-year trend that cost American workers 3.7 million jobs since 2001, three-fourths of them in manufacturing.

Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) President Scott Paul said:

“This problem didn’t happen overnight, and it won’t be fixed overnight either. President Trump was right to take on China’s trade cheating, but the Phase 1 trade deal isn’t good enough.

“Manufacturing plants around the country continue to close and millions of American workers lost good-paying jobs that support families and the communities in which they live. The answer isn’t to go back to a policy of looking the other way when China cheats. Rather, it’s to be tough, but in a much smarter and more strategic manner.”

According to the report released by the Economic Policy Institute, for the period from 2001–2018 “the growing trade deficit with China has cost jobs in all 50 states and in every congressional district in the United States. The 10 hardest-hit states, when looking at job loss as a share of total state employment, were New Hampshire, Oregon, California, North Carolina, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Vermont, Indiana, and Idaho. The five hardest-hit states based on total jobs lost were California (654,100 jobs lost), Texas (334,800), New York (185,100), Illinois (162,400), and Florida (150,700).”

The significant and widespread loss of jobs helps explain why job creation and wages remain a big issue with voters this election year. Key electoral states, including California, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Wisconsin, saw a significant decrease in jobs from the U.S.-China trade imbalance.

Of the 3.7 million jobs that have been lost to China since 2001, the year China entered the World Trade Organization, 75% were in manufacturing, which lost 2.8 million jobs.

The U.S.-China trade deficit was responsible for nearly all of the manufacturing jobs lost during this period, as the growth of imports from China far exceeded the growth of U.S. exports to China. The trade deficit in computer and electronic parts industry grew the most, accounting for the loss of 1.3 million jobs.

The growing trade deficit with China also has pushed down wages and contributed to income inequality. According to the report, “it is largely responsible for the loss of roughly $1,800 per worker per year due to wage suppression for all non-college-educated workers in the United States.”

Several Members from the House and Senate commented on the report:

“In 2000, I voted against letting China into the World Trade Organization. Since joining, China has refused to play by the international rules that all WTO members must agree to. As this report clearly shows, when China cheats, Wisconsin workers lose. I have bipartisan legislation that will take a stand against China’s economic aggression and unfair trade actions that undermine the ability of American businesses to compete on a level playing field. We should pass it in the Senate and stand up for American workers and manufacturers.” – Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)

“As this report shows, Permanent Normal Trade Relations with China led to the loss of 3.7 million jobs. This is further evidence that our trade policies have been an unmitigated disaster for workers. We need to fundamentally rewrite our trade deals so they reflect the interests of working families, not the CEOs who helped write them.” – Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT)  

“Our focus needs to be keeping and creating jobs in the US, strengthening American manufacturing, investing in workers, and growing our economy. That starts with having trade policies that level the playing field while putting the needs of hardworking men and women and their communities first. 6,500 jobs lost or displaced in Southeast Michigan is unacceptable and has a real human cost. We must fight for the Michigan economy, manufacturing and keeping our state at the forefront of innovation and technology.” – Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI-12)

“My district is home to a critical manufacturing sector that provides a vital economic stimulus and good paying middle-class jobs. Sadly, China’s predatory economic behavior—which is rooted in currency manipulation and abundant subsidies to stimulate its manufacturing industry—has harmed the U.S. manufacturing sector and tormented the American worker. It’s time for America’s elected leadership to enact policies that push back against China’s predatory behavior and stimulate our domestic manufacturing industry. I appreciate the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) for conducting a study into this issue, and I hope we use the findings to develop policies in Congress to address this issue and support the American middle-class and manufacturing sector,” – Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA-03)

“The phase one trade deal put forward by the Trump Administration is woefully inadequate at tackling China’s most egregious offenses, which have contributed to the loss of roughly 7,600 jobs in our Northern Ohio district since 2001. We owe it to working people across the country to fight for an agreement that puts American workers first and stems China’s currency manipulation, state-sponsored subsidies, and predatory investment so we can bring about real, positive change in our communities.” – Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH-9)

“Congress and the White House must prioritize protecting American businesses and bringing quality jobs to the US. Despite some changes in policy, it is painstakingly clear that China continues to inflict damage on American manufacturers, their hard-working employees, and the middle class with their unfair trade practices. Members of Congress must work together in a bipartisan fashion to stop China and other countries employing unfair trade practices from cheating American workers.” – Rep. Daniel Lipinski (D-IL-03)

“Despite this administration’s tough talk on trade, China has continued to get away with undercutting American manufacturing—especially in Wisconsin,” said Pocan. “Instead of competing on a fair playing field, Chinese companies receive massive investments from the Chinese government and are incentivized to overproduce with little environmental regulation, harming American workers in both importing and exporting industries. Any bilateral agreements with China must implement real, enforceable standards that give American manufacturers and workers a fair chance in the global economy.” – Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI-02)

“I am outraged that more than 9,000 Ohioans in my district alone are out of a job because of our trade deficit with China,” said Congressman Tim Ryan. “China’s economic policies are predatory, and Americans are getting a raw deal. This administration should go back to the mat to stand up for American workers.”  – Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH-13)

“China continues to present a clear threat to good-paying manufacturing jobs in Northwest Indiana and across our country.  We must continue to do everything possible to stop the illegal trading practices of China and ensure that all American workers are able to compete on a level playing field.  I appreciate the persistent efforts of the Alliance for American Manufacturing and the Economic Policy Institute to provide invaluable research and insights into this pressing issue.” – Rep. Pete Visclosky (D-IN-01)


Click here to read the full report and view an interactive map of all 50 states.

For more information, visit https://americanmanufacturing.org.


The Economic Policy Institute is an independent, nonprofit think tank that researches the impact of economic trends and policies on working people in the United States. EPI’s research helps policymakers, opinion leaders, advocates, journalists and the public understand the bread-and-butter issues affecting ordinary Americans.

The nonprofit, nonpartisan Alliance for American Manufacturing’s mission is to strengthen American manufacturing and create new private-sector jobs through smart public policies.