Trade and Unemployment: Global Bread and Butter Issues

  • Ed Bloch
Keywords: Global Economic Crisis


It is obvious, even a truism, that trade affects employment and unemployment, that they are functions of each other. We're all accustomed to think of the familiar "import problem"—Japanese cars and televisions flooding the U.S. market, European steel, Korean-made clothing, etc.—all creating unemployment in the United States. We may be less acutely aware of the "export problem"; the decline of U.S. exports to the tune of 2 million jobs within the past three years may well be more traumatic to the economy precisely because in the 1950s and 1960s the United States enjoyed a positive trade balance. In the case of my own union, the United Electrical Workers (UE), our members have lost far more jobs in the decline in exports than to competitive imports.

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