Arnold Kling  

Our Loss, China's Non-gain

Online Trade Barriers... Health Care Spending...

Joseph Carson of Alliance Capital Management decided to investigate how many manufacturing jobs China has gained at the expense of other countries. The result was somewhat surprising.

According to our analysis, between 1995 and 2002 roughly 22 million jobs were lost globally, a decline of 11%. Yet over the same period, global industrial production jumped more than 30%--a remarkable gain in productivity. Losses in the US of 2 million jobs over the same period matched the global average of 11%...

One of our more interesting findings is that, taken on its own, China's job losses are double the average of the remaining 17 countries for the same seven-year period. Manufacturing employment in the 17 largest economies other than China fell a little more than 7%, from 96 million in 1995 to 89 million in 2002. In contrast, China's fell a whopping 15% in the period, from 98 million in 1995 to 83 million in 2002.

For Discussion. Are these facts relevant to the debate over trade policy?

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CATEGORIES: International Trade

COMMENTS (3 to date)
Eric Krieg writes:

Absolutely not. China's state industries are shedding workers at a furious clip. Manchuria is afire with labor strife because of the restructiruings.

But how many of those workers were productive? The state industries were notorious job shops. Maybe one in five of the workers was actually involved in productive labor, maybe less.

Lawrance George Lux writes:

The data has very little effect on determination of trade policy. The data highlighted the movement away from manual labor to Tech-supervised mechanical production; something worthwhile in terms of both Profitability, and human injury reduction. Eric mentioned the superfluous labor force of most Chinese production, which it was in part; but in reality, it is the higher Productivity at greater Profit from high-Tech manufacture.

The data implies only this force has global impact. Realistic foreign outsourcing has limitations, though; my brother-in-law helped train a Plant operations force for two Plants in Mexico before he retired some eight years ago. They are both closed now, because of the inferiority of Product. The major component of the Tech-Production revolution is going to be trained Labor elements. lgl

Kimon writes:

Has anyone been able to download the complete study?

Arnold's URL points to a press release, and articles in Google News mention statistics that are not in the press release...

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