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Labor's Edge: Views from the California Labor Movement

Where are the Jobs? New Reports Show TPP Fails Workers

By Steve Smith

When it comes to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the operative question for Americans to ask is “Where are the Jobs?” According to two new independent analyses, they’re nonexistent.

The Obama administration, as part of its full-throated defense of the deal, is touting a new report from the Peterson Institute that claims the TPP will increase exports and raise wages. More on that specious claim in a minute. But the kicker in this report is that the TPP won’t add jobs, despite job creation being central to the Obama administration’s and big business supporters’ argument in support of the deal. In fact, the report states it will lead to “job churning” from manufacturing to service sector jobs.

While in absolute terms, employment in manufacturing continues to grow irrespective of the TPP, the agreement dampens the growth rate of manufacturing employment by about one-fifth. In absolute numbers, the lower trajectory of employment growth in manufacturing equals increases in employment in the service and primary goods sectors. More detailed results show 121,000 fewer jobs created in the sector relative to the baseline by 2030.

You read that right. The report the administration likes says the U.S. will have 121,000 fewer manufacturing jobs as a direct result of the deal. And the report goes on to state that the deal will likely cause considerable hardship on workers who get booted out of good-paying manufacturing jobs and are told to retrain for lower-paying jobs. Ask any of the hundreds of thousands of displaced workers across the Rust Belt how that story ends.

While the Peterson report hardly inspires confidence in the TPP, another report, from the Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University, paints a much bleaker picture of a post-TPP future.

The report concludes that rosy estimates about increased GDP and higher wages are pure fantasy. Basing their calculations on “realistic assumptions,” the authors find that the TPP will lead to lost jobs in America and will increase inequality across the globe.

We project that the TPP will lead to a contraction of GDP in the United States and in Japan, and negligible income gains in other countries. We also project job losses and higher inequality in all participating economies. In the face of negligible or negative income gains, the costs of the TPP are projected to fall asymmetrically on labor.

In other words, if the TPP passes Congress, American workers are going to get the short end of the stick. Again.

 

Posted on 01/26/2016Permalink

More posts by Steve Smith

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