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LI lost 27,100 jobs to trade with China, study says

In China, a worker on Dec. 7, 2014

In China, a worker on Dec. 7, 2014 puts the finishing touches on ceramic Smurfs. Credit: Getty Images

Long Island has suffered a net loss of more than 27,100 jobs -- most of them at factories -- to trade with China since 2001, according to a study released Thursday.

Researchers for the Economic Policy Institute, a union-backed think tank in Washington, D.C., blamed the job cuts on the United States' ballooning trade deficit with China. The researchers said job gains due to trade with China didn't offset the losses because Americans purchase more goods and services from the Asian giant than the United States sells there.

The estimated local job losses equal 2 percent of the 1.4 million people who were employed and living in the four congressional districts that cover Suffolk County and most of Nassau County in 2011, the most recent available data.

Proponents of trade with China said the institute's study is based on the false premise that goods now made in China would be made domestically if that country's factories didn't exist.

The institute estimated that New York State ranked No. 3 in job losses due to trade with China, shedding 179,200 positions between 2001 and last year. That would represent about 2 percent of the state's workforce in 2011.

California had the most estimated job losses -- 564,200 in the 12-year period.

Robert E. Scott, the study's co-author and an economist at the institute, said: "There are absolutely things that can be done to reduce the trade deficit and increase jobs in the United States. Policymakers should start with currency manipulation, which China and other countries engage in and which drives up the trade deficit."

Scott also said China's 2001 entry into the World Trade Organization hasn't brought the benefits to the United States that then-President Bill Clinton promised.

More than 3 million U.S. jobs were eliminated between 2001 and last year, a time in which the trade deficit with China climbed from $84 billion to $324 billion. China's exports to the United States in 2013 were nearly four times greater than U.S. exports to China.

The Alliance for American Manufacturing, a lobbying group, endorsed the study. "The nation's staggering trade deficit with China continues to be the single biggest impediment to a true jobs recovery," Alliance president Scott Paul said.

Marc Ross, a spokesman for the trade advocacy group, U.S.-China Business Council, said the study is based on "the assumption that if it wasn't made in China it would be made in America . . . this assumption is faulty."

He added, "Much of what we import from China today simply replaces imports from other countries like Japan, Singapore and South Korea, not products we make in the U.S. today."




Net U.S. jobs displaced due to goods trade with China by congressional district from 2001 to 2013.

1st Congressional District, eastern Suffolk: 8,400 jobs lost; 2.45 percent of the 343,300 jobs.2nd Congressional District, southwest Suffolk, southeast Nassau: 8,400 jobs lost; 2.35 percent of the 357,800 jobs.

3rd Congressional District, northwest Suffolk, northeast Nassau: 5,900 jobs lost; 1.75 percent of the 336,700 jobs.

4th Congressional District, southwest Nassau: 4,400 jobs lost; 1.28 percent of the 342,500 jobs.

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