Helping one set of manufacturing workers can put others in harm’s way. For example, anti-dumping duties on primary metals might help 400,000 metal workers, but it also disadvantages 6 million other manufacturing workers, whose families and communities equally value their jobs.
Shortly after his election in November, President-elect Donald Trump announced he made good on one of the promises of his campaign – to save jobs at a Carrier plant in Indiana that had been slated to move to Mexico. Trump’s announcement was great news for the Carrier employees who are keeping their jobs but it also perpetuates some misconceptions about where companies choose to locate and why and what it takes to bring back jobs to the United States.
On the average day, approximately $2.4 billion worth—2 million tons—of goods move between the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Co-production of world-class products made has given North America an advantage over other regions in the world.
Politicians critical of trade and globalization often point to the decline in U.S. manufacturing jobs as proof positive of America’s dwindling economic might. But the story of U.S. manufacturing shouldn’t begin and end with that single statistic. The true state of U.S. manufacturing is far more complicated – but also more hopeful.