New Study: International Trade Supports Nearly 39 Million American Jobs

Over 12 Million Jobs Supported by Trade with Canada and Mexico

March 18, 2019

Washington – A new study from Business Roundtable finds that international trade supports nearly 39 million American jobs, representing one out of every five jobs in the United States.

The proportion of jobs supported by trade has doubled since 1992, before the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), when trade supported one in every 10 jobs in the United States. The latest data also reveal that trade with Canada and Mexico alone supports more than 12 million American jobs.

“International trade is a driving force for strengthening the American economy,” said Tom Linebarger, Chairman and CEO of Cummins, Inc., and Chair of the Business Roundtable Trade & International Committee. “Growth in trade-dependent jobs far outpaces job growth as a whole, making it clear that future job and economic growth depends on opening new markets to American goods and services and breaking down barriers to trade and investment. With trade to Canada and Mexico accounting for nearly a third of all trade-dependent jobs in the United States, preserving and strengthening our relationship with our two closest trading partners by moving the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement across the finish line is more critical than ever.”

The study – prepared by Trade Partnership Worldwide with the latest-available employment data from 2017 – examines the net impacts of both exports and imports of goods and services on U.S. jobs. It found:

  • Trade-dependent U.S. jobs have grown by 169 percent since 1992, four times faster than non-trade related U.S. job growth, which has grown by 40 percent;
  • Trade has a positive net impact on both the services and manufacturing sectors; and
  • U.S. trade with our North American trading partners, among others, accounts for important shares of this trade-related employment. In 2017:
  • Trade with Canada supported, on net, 7.2 million jobs;
  • Mexico, 4.9 million jobs;
  • European Union (excluding the UK), 5.7 million jobs;
  • China, 7.3 million jobs;
  • Japan, 1.3 million jobs; and
  • Korea and the UK, just over 1 million jobs each.

Every state has seen net employment gains directly attributable to trade. Data from each state can be found on our interactive map here.

The full study can be found here.