Imports help support millions of American jobs, especially in the supply chain, according to a trade group study released this week.
Eight trade associations joined forces to conduct the economic impact study, which focuses on the net impact of imports on U.S. jobs. Titled “Imports Work For American Workers,” the study found that imports help support 21 million American jobs across a wide swath of industries, including retail, apparel, transportation, manufacturing, and consumer technology, and especially throughout the supply chain.
“Imports to the United States are critical to the health of the U.S. economy and to providing diverse, quality goods to American consumers,” said Nate Herman, senior vice president of policy for the American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA), one of the study's sponsors. “Imports are also key to the U.S. global value chain, directly employing millions of American workers in product development, sourcing, and compliance that turn those designs into product; the transportation and logistics managers, warehouse workers, [and] the truckers who ensure that product makes it to market; and the merchandisers and salespeople who get that product sold.”
The study also examines how imports support jobs in each state, and evaluates the potential impact of pending trade policy initiatives on import-related jobs.
Other report findings include:
The 10 states accounting for the largest number of import-related jobs are California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia.
Imports from key trading partners—including Canada, China, the European Union, and Mexico—support a net positive number of U.S. jobs.
Import-related jobs are good jobs that pay competitive wages. Nearly 8 million of the jobs related to importing are held by minorities and 2.5 million jobs are held by workers represented by unions, according to the study.
The vast majority (96%) of companies who import are small or medium-sized businesses.
U.S. trade policies, many now pending before Congress and the administration, have the potential to either support or hurt these jobs, the study found.
The study was commissioned by the AAFA, the American Chemistry Council, the Consumer Technology Association, the National Foreign Trade Council, the National Retail Federation, the Retail Industry Leaders Association, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the U.S. Fashion Industry Association, and the U.S. Global Value Chain Coalition.