NEW PUBLICATION | Growing Together: How Trade with Mexico Impacts Employment in the United States

growing-together-employment-sectionBy Christopher Wilson

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The United States and Mexico trade over a half-trillion dollars in goods and services each year, which amounts to more than a million dollars in bilateral commerce every minute.  With such a large volume of trade, it is not hard to believe that the number of jobs that depend on the bilateral relationship is similarly impressive. New research by the Mexico Institute shows precisely that: nearly five million U.S. jobs depend on trade with Mexico.

The study shows that if trade between the United States and Mexico were halted, 4.9 million Americans from across the country would be out of work.

This essay analyzes the employment impact of bilateral trade on the U.S. economy. Read the essay here.

Key Findings

  • Nearly five million U.S. jobs depend on trade with Mexico… Our model shows that if trade between the United States and Mexico were halted, 4.9 million Americans would be out of work.
  • Many times, it is the availability of cost-efficient inputs that allows U.S. companies to stay competitive enough to fend off competitors from outside the region and to grow exports in the face of fierce global competition. In this way, not just exports but also imports from Mexico help support jobs in U.S. industry.
  • The auto industry, which is probably the single most integrated regional industry, is a perfect example of the benefits of trade integration. Without the availability of nearby Mexican plants to do the final assembly of light vehicles, it is quite possible that the vast U.S. parts producing network for these vehicles would migrate to someplace outside of the continent.
  • Misperception and scapegoating has certainly played a role in creating the current negative political environment around trade…but so has the very real failure of U.S. policymakers to adequately address the challenges facing middle-class Americans.

This essay is part of our project Growing Together: Economic Ties between the United States and Mexico, which explores the bilateral relationship in detail to understand its nature and its impact on the United States. Throughout the fall of 2016, the Mexico Institute will release the findings of our research on our website and social media, using the hashtag #USMXEcon.

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