A growing trade deficit with China is responsible for the loss of 2.1 million manufacturing jobs since 2001, a new study concludes, and more than 2.7 million U.S. jobs overall.

These job losses occurred since China was admitted into the World Trade Organization (WTO) a decade ago, according to the report by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI).

“The United States is piling up foreign debt and losing export capacity, and the growing trade deficit with China has been a prime contributor to the crisis in U.S. manufacturing employment,” said the report’s author, Robert E. Scott, EPI’s director of Trade and Manufacturing Policy Research.

Through June, the U.S. trade deficit with China in 2012 was more than $145 billion and outpacing the same period in 2011.

Between 2001 and 2011, the trade deficit with China eliminated or displaced more than half of all U.S. manufacturing jobs lost over that period. The growing trade deficit with China, EPI found, has cost jobs in every state as well as in the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

The total losses include 662,100 jobs from 2008 to 2011, even though imports from China and the rest of the world plunged in 2009 before recovering and surpassing the previous peak reached in 2008.
The trade deficit in the computer and electronic parts industry grew the most, displacing more than 1 million jobs in high-tech industries. In fact, rapidly growing imports of computer and electronic parts, including computers, semiconductors and audio-video equipment, accounted for nearly 55% of the $217.5 billion increase in the U.S. trade deficit with China between 2001 and 2011.

“The EPI report offers convincing evidence that, unless China’s trade violations and currency manipulation are challenged forcefully, our growing trade deficit will continue to cripple the fledgling U.S. jobs recovery,” said Scott Paul, executive director of the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM), an organization representing manufacturers and the United Steelworkers (USW).

While U.S. exports to China have grown from 2000-2011, Paul said imports from China have far outpaced exports in the same timeframe, and America’s annual trade deficit with China has more than tripled since 2000.

“Exports to China may have increased since 2000, but imports have soared dramatically in that time,” said Paul.
The study found the hardest-hit congressional districts were in California, Texas, Oregon, and Massachusetts, and Minnesota. Some districts in North Carolina, Georgia, Colorado, and Alabama also were hit especially hard by job displacement in a variety of manufacturing industries, including computers and electronic parts, textiles and apparel, and furniture.