Archived Content

Trade & American Jobs: 2016 Update

The Impact of Trade on U.S. & State Level Employment

Executive Summary

U.S. trade continues to expand, and with it, U.S. employment. Based on the latest available data (2014), trade supports 41 million U.S. jobs. This means that more than one in every five U.S. jobs is linked to exports and imports of goods and services. Nearly  three times as many jobs were supported by trade in 2014 as in 1992 – before the accelerated wave of trade liberalization that began with the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994 – when our earlier research found that trade supported 14.5 million jobs, or one in every ten U.S. jobs.

  • As U.S. trade - both exports and imports - has grown over the past two decades, caused in part by trade liberalizing international agreements, so has the number of U.S. jobs tied to trade. Indeed, trade-dependent U.S. jobs have grown more than three times faster than U.S. jobs generally.
  • Every U.S. state has realized net employment gains directly attributable to trade.
  • Trade has a positive impact on U.S. jobs in both the services and manufacturing sectors.
  • U.S. trade with countries involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations account for important shares of this trade related employment. In 2014, trade with TPP partners supported 15.6 million jobs, and trade with the TTIP countries (the European Union) supported an additional 6.9 million jobs. Importantly, trade with TTP and"TTIP countries"currently"supports a net positive number of jobs in every state.