Report: Colorado job loss to China in the tens of thousands

Colorado has lost 45,100 jobs to China since that country entered the World Trade Organization in 2001, according to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), a liberal think tank, and the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM), a joint lobbying effort of labor and manufacturing industries. A report released by the groups this week finds that the U.S. has lost 2.4 million jobs altogether and that 2 of the top 50 districts losing jobs at the fastest rate are Colorado’s Second and Fourth districts, which each lost more than 9,000 jobs.

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Colorado ranked 12th among states losing jobs to China over the last decade, according to the report. The authors blame the “one-sided trade arrangements” the United States shares with China. An unsurprising chief factor is the fact that China has tied its currency to the U.S. dollar at a low rate, making it much cheaper for U.S. companies to do business there and upping the profit margin on Chinese products sold here. Other factors include lax labor and environmental law enforcement and policies that protect Chinese markets from U.S. competition.

“Currency manipulation may sound like a highly technical subject, but its impact is simple,” AAM Executive Director Scott Paul said in a release. “U.S. exports to China cost up to 40 percent more in China and Chinese exports to our consumers enjoy a subsidy of a similar amount. That’s unfair and unacceptable.” AAM is urging the Obama administration to state plainly that China is a currency manipulator in a Treasury Department report scheduled to come out in April.

Computer and electronic equipment and parts industries are most affected by the trade deficit, the groups found, industries that fuel the businesses of the future across economic sectors.

“These findings document what we have been asserting for some time,” said Paul. “China is undercutting the competitiveness of our manufacturers and undermining the earning power of American workers by routinely failing to honor its global and bilateral commitments.”

Betsy Markey’s Fourth District has lost 9,300 jobs to China in the last decade and places 28th in the list of top 50 districts losing work, according to the findings. CD4 lost roughly 2.64 percent of total employment in the district.

Jared Polis’s Second District has lost 9,400 jobs to China, ranking 41 among the top 50 districts losing jobs. CD2 lost roughly 2.4 percent of total employment.

“Sophisticated electronics and high-tech products that once were made in the United States are increasingly being made in China instead. We are losing more and more of these good jobs,” said Paul.

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John Tomasic

Writer, editor, web wrangler. He has worked for art, business, culture, politics publications and for a UN war crimes commission. @johntomasic
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