Argument: Free trade creates more jobs (and better ones) than it destroys

Issue Report: Free trade

Supporting Evidence

  • Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, At the Montana Economic Development Summit 2007, Butte, Montana, May 1, 2007 ” The U.S. jobs created by trade also tend to offer higher pay and demand greater skill than the jobs that are destroyed–although a downside is that, in the short run, the greater return to skills created by trade may tend to increase the wage differential between higher-skilled and lower-skilled workers and thus contribute to income inequality (Bernanke, 2007). The effects of trade on employment must also be put in the context of the remarkable dynamism of the U.S. labor market. The amount of “churn” in the labor market–the number of jobs created and destroyed–is enormous and reflects the continuous entry, exit, and resizing of firms in our ever-changing economy. Excluding job layoffs and losses reversed within the year, over the past decade an average of nearly 16 million private-sector jobs have been eliminated each year in the United States, an annual loss equal to nearly 15 percent of the current level of nonfarm private employment.6 The vast majority of these job losses occur for a principal reason other than international trade (Kletzer, 2001; Bernanke, 2004). Moreover, during the past ten years, the 16 million annual job losses have been more than offset by the creation of about 17 million jobs per year–some of which, of course, are attributable to the direct and indirect effects of trade. Truly, the U.S. labor market exhibits a phenomenal capacity for creative destruction”