Minnesota job loss: Made in China

Tim and Mary Pawlenty, happily signing away all your jobs.
Tim and Mary Pawlenty, happily signing away all your jobs.

First we learned Minnesota is taking all the jobs in America. Now we know that China is taking all of Minnesota's jobs. So, A minus B, minus China, times infinity... soon China will have every single job in America.

Well, maybe it's not that simple. But China's labor practices, and the United States' trade deficit with that country, is blamed for the loss of 70,000 Minnesota manufacturing jobs during the last decade in a new paper from the Economic Policy Institute.

These "displaced" jobs put Minnesota in the top 10 "hardest-hit" states on trade with China, and account for 2.6 percent of total employment in Minnesota. Actually, Minnesota was on the receiving end of around 11,700 jobs thanks to trade with China -- but it gave up 82,400 the other way.

A good analogy would be: We gave them the entire Kung Pao chicken, and the extra rice, and they let us keep the fortune cookie.

In terms of per capita job losses due to the trade deficit, only five states got off worse in this deal than Minnesota, according to the report: New Hampshire, which lost 19,700 jobs, California (454,600), Massachusetts (88,600), Oregon (47,900), and North Carolina (107,800).

The states that have made out best -- least-badly? -- are Wyoming, Montana, and Alaska, which each lost less than 2,500 jobs due to China, but which already suffer the terrible fate of being Wyoming, Montana, and Alaska.

Nationwide, 2.8 million jobs lost in the last decade -- fully half all of the manufacturing and labor jobs lost in the last decade -- are blamed on the trade deficit.

The report is geared around the 10-year-anniversary of China's entry into the WTO. According to EPI, that seemed like a good idea at the time, but -- thanks to China's currency manipulation to devalue the yuan, and the terrible wages and conditions of Chinese labor -- has actually led to some pretty bad consequences for the American labor force.

It's hard, though, to just blame "China" in general for all of this. It'd be so much easier if we just had one person to pin this on. So, we bring you the relevant passage from Tim Pawlenty's book, "Courage to Stand."

So we created a China-Minnesota partnership, a sustained reprioritization of the trade office that disproportionately emphasized China in our state-encouraged trade and international activities. In 2005, we took a group of 250 people to China on our very first trip as part of the initiative. It was the largest state-based trade mission to China ever.

People understandably worry about outsourcing, but we can offset that in part by achieving more "insourcing" in our country by global companies.

There it is. Thanks, Tim. You were only off by about 700 percent.

Sponsor Content


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >