Report: Wal-Mart Imports Have Killed 400,000 US Jobs

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The retail chain's enormous volume of imported goods has taken a heavy toll on American manufacturing jobs over the past decade, according to this study. But some economists say it fails to account for jobs created by the massive trade in other areas.

Wal-Mart’s import of billions of dollars in Chinese goods is killing good-paying jobs in the United States.

That’s according to a recent report from the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute, which claims that Wal-Mart’s growing trade deficit with China cost the United States more than 400,000 jobs, the majority of them in the manufacturing sector, between 2001 and 2013.

“Walmart is one of the major forces pulling imports into the United States,” said Robert E. Scott, an economist at the EPI and the study’s author. “And the jobs we’re losing are good-paying manufacturing jobs, which pay higher wages and provide better benefits.”

Wal-Mart is the nation’s largest retailer and biggest importer. It imported $49 billion worth of Chinese goods in 2013, the report said. The United States’ overall trade deficit with China hit $324 billion that same year and displaced a whopping 3.2 million American jobs.

The EPI, which has long been a critic of America’s trade policies with China, said Wal-Mart is responsible for at least 15.3 percent of the growing trade deficit with China.

Wal-Mart disputes EPI’s report, which is based on trade and labor data. The new study is an update of a 2007 report conducted by EPI.

“Unfortunately, this is an old report with flawed economic analysis that assumes that imports equal job losses, and does not take into consideration that countless jobs are added through the global supply chain, distribution and logistics, among other areas of the business,” Wal-Mart spokesman Lorenzo Lopez said in a statement.

Some economists say studies like the EPI’s are skewed because they fail to account for jobs that importing goods can create, including those in the transportation, wholesale and retail industries, The New York Times reports.

In 2013, under pressure to sell more American-made products, Wal-Mart made a commitment to purchase $250 billion in U.S.-made goods in an effort to “create more American jobs by supporting more American manufacturing.”

Check out “Can You Trust Wal-Mart’s ‘Made In USA’ Product Claims?” and see what you think.

What do you think of the EPI report? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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