In 2012, U.S. News and World Report said, “America Lost 2.7 Million Jobs to China in 10 Years.”
In 2013, Think Progress.org wrote, “Study Finds Free Trade With China Lowered American Manufacturing By 29.6 Percent.”
In 2014, the Economic Policy Institute reported, “Growing U.S. trade deficit with China cost 3.2 million jobs between 2001 and 2013, with job losses in every state.”
In 2015, Boomberg.com published, “After Doubts, Economists Find China Kills U.S. Factory Jobs.”
In 2016, NPR broadcast on All Things Considered that “China Killed 1 Million U.S. Jobs, But Don’t Blame trade Deals.”
And those previous 5 stories are only the tip of Mt. Everest. When I Googled “U.S. Jobs Lost to China,” there were almost 70 million hits.
That’s why I find the following information so interesting: 59.2 percent of the civilian labor force age 16 and older had jobs in 1950, but in 2015, that ratio was 66.8 percent. Isn’t that an increase in jobs instead of jobs lost? – Labor Force Change, BLS.gov, table 4, page 22
In addition, Heritage.org says, “Those who attack China often do not examine real economic events: They do not measure actual failed businesses and actual job losses. Instead, they assume the U.S.–China trade deficit means that both production and production jobs are moving from the U.S. to China. … Imports do not cause unemployment; quite the opposite, they are a signal of prosperity and plentiful jobs.” The Heritage Foundation is an American conservative think tank based in Washington D.C. and the foundation took a leading role in the conservative movement during the Presidency of Ronald Reagan. Therefore, you can’t blame alleged liberals for this report.
Cato.org, an American libertarian think tank (To be clear, libertarians are not liberals.) founded by the Charles Koch Foundation, (yes, that Koch) supports what Heritage says: “In the quarter century between 1983 and 2007, as real GDP more than doubled and the real value of U.S. trade increased five-fold, the U.S. economy created 46 million net new jobs, or 1.84 million net new jobs per year.”
If what Heritiage.org and Cato.org says is true, is the United States really losing jobs?
First, after the 2007-08 global financial crises caused by U.S. Banks and Wall Street greed, trade between the United States and the world shrunk by 12 percent and almost 9 million jobs were lost in the U.S. — jobs that were not lost to China. In fact, since 2009, more than 9 million jobs were added back making up for those lost jobs.
That proves that the United States has not had a reduction in jobs, but “In the U.S., jobs paying between $14 and $21 per hour made up about 60% of those jobs lost during the recession … such mid-wage jobs have comprised only about 27% of jobs gained during the recovery through mid-2012. In contrast, lower-paying jobs constituted about 58% of the jobs regained.”
Did you know that the United States has the 2nd largest manufacturing sector in the world, and that China only became #1 recently? Brookings.edu says, “As recently as 2010, the United States had the world’s largest manufacturing sector measured by its valued-added and, while it has now been surpassed by China, the United States remains a very large manufacturer.”
I wouldn’t be surprised if you said no.
At this point you may be confused or in denial. You might be thinking that this can’t be true. How can the U.S. have such a large manufacturing sector when millions of jobs have been lost there?
Bright Hub Engineering.com offers one answer: “Robots have replaced a lot of activities formerly carried out by a human, with one robot replacing as many as ten workers.”
“In the last fifteen years, manufacturing in the United States has undergone a fundamental shift,” Arena Solutions.com reports. “As millions of U.S. manufacturing jobs have been lost to … automation, output has steadily continued to grow. And while U.S. manufacturing output has decreased by only 1% since 1990, manufacturing jobs have decreased by over 30% in the same time period.”
Losing manufacturing jobs is not only happening in the US. The Harvard Business Review.org says, “Manufacturing employment decline is a global phenomenon. As a Bloomberg story summarized: “Some 22 million manufacturing jobs were lost globally between 1995 and 2002 as industrial output soared 30 percent.”
Instead of blaming China, blame the real culprits: robots and the greedy rich who are behind the decisions to replace humans with automation. If one robot can replace ten humans, that’s a lot of increased profits, and more job losses are on the way. Earlier this year CBS Money Watch reported The robot revolution will take 5 million jobs from humans.
After all, Robots don’t need Social Security, medical care, retirement plans, paid sick leave or vacations — in fact, they don’t earn any money, even minimum wage with no benefits, making robots better than human slaves.
China is also going through its own robot revolution. FT Magazine reported this June that “Factories in China are replacing humans with robots in a new automation-driven industrial revolution.”
The manager of one Chinese company that makes stainless steel sinks in Guangdong talked about 9 robots doing the job of 140 full-time workers, “These machines are cheaper, more precise and more reliable than people.”
But what happens when there are no human jobs left for people to earn money so they can buy stainless steel sinks and all the other consumer crap factories churn out around the world? After all, robots don’t read books, watch films, use sinks or toilets, or even eat.
Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the unique love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.
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