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As Voters and Candidates Attack Unfair Trade, A New Tool To Find Trade-Related Job Loss in Your Community

Voters’ worries about job off-shoring and “free trade” have become dominant themes this election season. The latest NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll found the impact of trade and outsourcing is one of the only issues on which Americans of different classes, occupations and political persuasions agree. Eighty-six percent said outsourcing of jobs by U.S. companies to low-wage foreign nations is a top cause of our economic woes - by far voters' top concern, with questions about deficits and health care costs well behind.

This is causing a striking disconnect for voters this election season. After years of witnessing massive trade-related job losses in their communities, voters are resistant to corporate messages promoting even more job-killing trade deals. This disconnect is nowhere more apparent than on the airwaves: off-shoring multinationals are exploiting the Citizens United ruling tofunnel contributions through domestic business groups for television and radio ads in support of pro-free-trade candidates, even as the need for domestic investment and job creation could not be greater.  

There is a new resource to inform debates over job creation and for understanding the real effects of trade agreements on the state and local level. Through the new Trade Data Center created by Public Citizen, we now know that nearly 400,000 jobs have been lost as a result of bad trade policies since the recession began.  And in many states, this off-shoring and outsourcing has been a significant contribution to unemployment and continues to hamper efforts to get people back to work - including in these states faring poorly in number of jobs lost:

  • Michigan - 52,247

  • Ohio - 31,583

  • North Carolina - 22,168

  • Texas - 14,437

  • Tennessee - 11,780

The Trade Data Center draws on extensive Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), innovative computer algorithms, and detailed information about contracts and siting of corporate headquarters, to make the following information available for the first time:

  • Trade-related job loss data that is mapped and searchable by congressional district, county, metro area, state, company name and more, as certified by the Department of Labor;

  • Information about workers and companies that claimed trade-related job losses, but that were denied adjustment assistance by the DOL; and

  • A map of the operations of multinational corporations in the eight countries that are currently negotiating a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement. Members of Congress and the public have requested that the Obama administration not include controversial NAFTA-style investor rights in this agreement.  This map gives a sense of the sheer quantity and geographic reach of corporations that would be able to use these rights to attack public interest regulations in the U.S. and abroad.