Factory Jobs Recover in October, But Trade Imbalance Grows as Trump Heads to Asia: AAM Statement

The manufacturing sector grew by 24,000 jobs in October, according to the latest employment data from the Labor Department. The growth, prompted by hurricane recovery, came amid losses in primary metals and automobiles.

The overall goods and trade deficit expanded to $43.5 billion in September, according to the latest Commerce Department data released Friday. The goods deficit with China also hit $29.9 billion as the president heads to Asia.

Said Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) President Scott Paul: 

"Factory work picked up in October, but the gains may be temporary. I'm concerned about job losses in autos and primary metals like steel. 

"The trade deficit is running higher than last year, and imports are up 20 percent in steel alone.

"President Trump needs to return from Asia with some real results for workers. China, Japan, South Korea, and Vietnam all run large trade deficits with the United States. So far we've seen bluster and a few investigations launched by this administration, but very little else to show for it. Next week is a make-or-break moment for this administration, and workers are depending on action." 

Paul addressed growing trade deficits in a letter to President Trump earlier this week. He wrote:

"For too long, our trade policies haven't been focused on supporting our manufacturing sector but, in many ways, have undermined it. The United States is long overdue for a new approach to trade, especially with China. It is both possible and desirable to create a trade policy framework to support a resurgent, Made in America manufacturing base." 

Paul also pointed out that since Beijing's 2001 entry into the World Trade Organization, the U.S. bilateral trade deficit with China has more than quadrupled. He writes:

"The U.S.-China trade deficit in 2017 is on pace to go even higher, having grown during the first months of your administration. In just 15 years, the impact of the surging U.S-China trade deficit on U.S. companies and American workers has been severe and too often overlooked. Our communities have shed more than 54,000 manufacturing facilities, and we’ve seen our global market share in manufactured exports shrink from 14 percent in 2000 to nine percent in 2013.

"Altogether, a staggering 3.4 million jobs, largely in manufacturing, have been lost because of this massive trade imbalance. While the U.S.-China trade deficit is unparalleled in its magnitude and adverse impact on our economy, the United States..." 

To read the full letter, visit AmericanManufacturing.org.