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Economy & Business

Study: Trade Deficit with China Killing Pennsylvania Jobs

Pennsylvania is losing jobs because of China's trade practices, according to a study from the nonpartisan Economic Policy Institute. Researchers found that the increase in U.S. imports from China and the decrease in American exports there has combined to create a $278 billion "trade deficit"—a gap three times greater than the 2001 figure. The D.C.-based Economic Policy Institute says the growing trade deficit has eliminated 2.8 million American jobs, much of that in the manufacturing sector.

Alliance for American Manufacturing Executive Director Scott Paul blames the trade gap for the loss of 107,000 jobs in Pennsylvania, many of them in manufacturing. Paul said China "pegs" the value of its currency to be less valuable than the dollar, and also heavily subsidizes its manufacturing sector—two moves that create an unfair trade environment.

Keystone Research Center Labor Economist Mark Price said the trade deficit job losses are spread relatively evenly throughout Pennsylvania. "The Southeast parts of the state have been hit a little bit harder than the Southwest," said Price. "Still, many parts of the southwest, for instance the Pittsburgh region, have seen in excess of 3,000 job losses as a result of this trading relationship, according to the EPI."

Both Paul and Price called on President Obama and Congress to demand that China stop manipulating its currency and trade with the rest of the world "on a level playing field."