The globalization of the US economy has had a crippling impact on US cities as free trade makes it easier for businesses to move production and jobs overseas, details a report by US International Trade Commission.
The report, which brought together labor representatives, economists and others to discuss the impact of America’s decades-long free trade policy, was commissioned by U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and produced in March and April of this year.
Among other findings, the report found that the United States’ free trade policy has made it easier for companies to move American jobs overseas and keep wages low for jobs that stay in the United States.
“Participants identified trade policy as the cause of job losses. A union representative noted that trade policies often have loopholes or are manipulated by China and other countries so that policies do not work as intended,” the report states:
Another one the union representative said that current trade agreements allow for greater capital mobility than pre-1980s agreements, allowing auto, electronics and steel makers to move overseas for a number of reasons. Various union representatives explained that companies can use the threat to move jobs overseas for a variety of reasons — such as better tax implications and lower wages — limit the power of unions and keep national wages low. [Emphasis added]
When U.S. free trade policy allows companies to offshore production, the report says, U.S. employees aren’t the only ones directly affected by such measures. Cities and communities as a whole, as well as Americans in support industries, are also feeling the devastating impact.
“Participants noted that when jobs are lost, local businesses – such as gas stations and restaurants – that rely on the affected workers as customers and customers, as well as other businesses in the supply chain industry supply, are suffering,” the report said. . “A retired steelworker also noted that business failures can have effects beyond job loss, such as loss of pensions.”
Societal impacts resulting from corporate outsourcing of US production, according to the report, include increased mental health issues, suicide, lower life expectancy, divorce, domestic violence, rates higher crime rates and worse off public schools.
In particular, when a factory closed in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, the report says that due to the United States’ free trade policy, neighboring mom-and-pop stores, local businesses and grocery stores suffered to stay afloat. Many have also closed.
“Another union representative noted that when General Motors Company halted production in Lansing, Michigan, jobs in the local community suffered,” the report states:
Two other union representatives spoke about the impact of plant closures and production cuts on employees. An academic and a business owner indicated that factory closures can lead to the loss of opportunities for upward job mobility and a shift to service jobs which tend to have lower wages and fewer benefits. Other union representatives, including one who is retired, said that the closure of the General Motors plant in Lordstown, Ohio in 2019 and the threat of relocation have been used to suppress workers’ wages and benefits. Another union representative spoke of Cooper Tire in Finley, Ohio, which allegedly faced competition from dumped imports from China in 2007. Employees at this plant were allegedly programmed for two-day shifts and two days off and could not file for unemployment. [Emphasis added]
In Rep. Tim Ryan’s northeast Ohio district, nearly 25,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost over the past two decades. At the same time, drug overdose deaths in the region have skyrocketed by 400% in some communities.
“A retired union representative says families and neighborhoods in the Mahoning Valley and Youngstown, Ohio are still hurt by the manufacturing job losses that occurred more than 40 years ago. , as well as more recent plant closures,” the report said. “She described a cycle of decline, decay and blight, as the population fell to a third of its previous size and homes stood vacant as children and grandchildren moved away.”
Ryan District’s economic and social decline is part of why Ohio Senator-elect JD Vance told Breitbart News last month that tariffs on foreign imports must be at the center of the country’s industrial policy. country to “rebuild America’s industrial heartland”.
Relocation, stimulated by the American policy of free trade, is not weakening.
This month, for example, executives at tech parts maker Jabil Inc. announced they would be laying off about 1,400 of their U.S. employees in California and closing six factories across the state.
Likewise, a 125-year-old Avon factory in Suffern, New York is closing and laying off nearly 140 of its American employees. Avon executives said those American jobs will be sent to Brazil and Poland, where the price of labor is significantly lower.
Also this month, medical device company Vapotherm announced it was closing its manufacturing plant in Exeter, New Hampshire, laying off nearly 50 of its US employees and moving production to Tijuana, Mexico.
Executives at Norcold, the refrigerator maker, are laying off nearly 360 of their U.S. workers at two plants in Shelby County, Ohio, and sending all production overseas.