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WSJ: Tallying the Toll of U.S.-China Trade

Author: Justin Lahart
September 27, 2011

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A team of economists finds damages to the U.S. labor market by Chinese imports to be graver than imagined.

Many Americans believe low-priced Chinese imports kill U.S. factory jobs. Most economists say the benefits of the trade far outweigh its costs.

But new research suggests the damage to the U.S. has been deeper than these economists have supposed. The study, conducted by a team of three economists, doesn’t challenge the traditional view that trade is ultimately good for the economy. Workers who lose jobs do eventually find new work or retire, while the benefits from trade, such as lower prices, remain. The problem is the speed at which China has surged as an exporter—overwhelming the normal process of adaptation.

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