May 2015

IZA DP No. 9068: Import Competition and the Great U.S. Employment Sag of the 2000s

published in: Journal of Labor Economics, 2016, 34 (S1), S141-S198

Even before the Great Recession, U.S. employment growth was unimpressive. Between 2000 and 2007, the economy gave back the considerable employment gains achieved during the 1990s, with a historic contraction in manufacturing employment being a prime contributor to the slump. We estimate that import competition from China, which surged after 2000, was a major force behind both recent reductions in U.S. manufacturing employment and - through input-output linkages and other general equilibrium channels - weak overall U.S. job growth. Our central estimates suggest job losses from rising Chinese import competition over 1999 through 2011 in the range of 2.0 to 2.4 million.