To make it easier, let's imagine USA exports nothing and imports nothing (or the exports have the same value with the imports = 0 trade deficit = the country exports the same amount of jobs as it is importing).

And then, the next year, USA starts importing ceramics from China, paying 1 billion dollars for it. Other than that, it does export nothing and it does import nothing (or it keeps the trade deficit at 0).

That means some American ceramic workers will lose their jobs because the jobs will be exported (outsourced) to China.

My question is: to make an average, how many jobs are lost by such a trade deficit, in an industry of reference, as the ceramic industry for example?

What I'm asking for is an estimate because it's clear you can't measure it exactly - it depends on many factors. So an average estimate is a very good answer.


1 Answer 1


An estimate cannot be reasonably (let alone objectively) given without a priori knowledge of the specific industry.

That means some American ceramic workers will lose their jobs because the jobs will be exported (outsourced) to China.

Not necessarily. Apparently you are assuming that there would be an oversupply of ceramics, but an increase of importations of ceramic from China could be purely in response to a spike in US demand. Also the assumption that there are US producers/suppliers of ceramics might be inaccurate.

Even if the assumption of US production of ceramics is accurate, you would need to know beforehand certain characteristics of the US ceramic industry. For instance, US production might be largely automated, whence the presumed loss of jobs in the US would be negligible.

Likewise, policies of the sort of "buy local" might be prevalent in some industries, in which case imports would end up being returned and therefore inconsequential.

  • $\begingroup$ I do not assume any oversupply of ceramics - I assume American ceramics sales going down because the clients buy cheaper ceramics imported from China. My assumption that there are US producers/suppliers of ceramics is not inaccurate. If such an issue would exist, then choose some other manufacturing industry in the USA. Yes, as I said, it depends on a lot of factors. But there are gazillions of economists in this world, they should know such details about the specific industries, isn't it? And sorry but your statement about "buy local" policies is completely irrelevant in this conversation. $\endgroup$
    – Joe Jobs
    Jan 11, 2019 at 21:03
  • $\begingroup$ It's plausible for "buy local" campaigns to influence an agent's consumption decisions. Instead of downvoting your question as incomplete or overly broad, I explained why it is pointless to try to come up with some "estimate of average impact" (in your words,"in an industry of reference, as the ceramic industry for example") without having beforehand knowledge of the industry at issue. You can always wait for an economist specialized in manufacturing/ceramics to say some number, although I rather suspect he'll agree with me that it would be too temporary/generic/uncertain to be of any use. $\endgroup$ Jan 11, 2019 at 21:57
  • $\begingroup$ excuse me but the "buy local" rules are outside of the question. I said "If you import.. then". So I'm talking about the situation where such rules do not exist. There is always a possibility for such rules to be created just like there are always possibilities to create wars - they both affect international trade. But we are not talking about an infinity of possibilities here. We are talking about a specific situation. Maybe you are not aware about it but you derail the conversation. That's not the way to answer a question. $\endgroup$
    – Joe Jobs
    Jan 11, 2019 at 22:38
  • $\begingroup$ There are always economists specialized in industries - for each industry. The companies need economists in order to measure their sales and their work efficiency so they have quite a good picture about such data. They know how many jobs you create when you produce and export that amount of goods - and how many you lose when you import the same amount of goods. Such data is changing every year, depending on technology, yet they have very good estimates for each year because their very jobs depend on such estimates. Im sorry for your time invested in this reply but it's only creating confusion. $\endgroup$
    – Joe Jobs
    Jan 11, 2019 at 22:54
  • $\begingroup$ "I said "If you import.. then"" I actually addressed that scenario when I mentioned the possibility of a "spike in demand" and of an industry being "largely automated". But like I said, you can always wait for a specialist to address your question for a specific industry. Keep your fingers crossed so that in lieu of some economics rationale he will give you "very good estimates" now that "their very jobs depend on such estimates". $\endgroup$ Jan 11, 2019 at 23:51

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