Arkansas lost more than 24,000 jobs between 2001 and 2018 because of the ongoing trade deficit with China, according to a new report from the Economic Policy Institute.
Over the past two decades, the United States steadily has imported more goods from China than it exports, and that trade deficit has topped more than $150 billion since the Great Recession. Rob Scott, a senior economist at the institute, said that's a major reason manufacturing employment hasn't fully recovered along with the rest of the economy.
"China trade is responsible for most of the loss of manufacturing jobs in the economy in the last 20 years," he said. "We've lost about, a little less than 5 million jobs overall, in that period. It's devastated manufacturing communities around the country, and I think China trade is responsible for a large portion of those losses."
The report found 3.7 million U.S. jobs have disappeared in the past two decades.
Last month, President Donald Trump signed a new trade deal with China, but Scott said it remains to be seen whether China will hold up its end of the bargain. "China has promised to spend $200 billion overall, including $40 billion for ag products over the next two years, on U.S. exports," he said. "China has a history of failing to follow through on those promises, and I think that's the biggest concern about this Phase One trade deal."
Amid the ongoing trade battle, China has reduced its purchases of U.S. soybeans. Despite the lost income, Scott doesn't think Trump's new trade deal will significantly affect demand for U.S. farm products. "It has increased purchases from elsewhere in the world," he said. "In the same way, the U.S. has started to export more soybeans to other countries. So, I think what's going on in part is that China has simply been buying its U.S. soybeans through other ports."
Arkansas farmers grow more than 150 million bushels of soybeans each year, and the state ranks 10th in the nation for soybean production.
The EPI report is online at epi.org, and the trade deal is detailed at nyt.com.
More from Local News
Arkansas schools closed for rest of year due to coronavirus
Arkansas’ public schools will remain closed for the rest of the academic year due to the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Monday, as a third lawmaker tested positive for the virus.
Louisiana governor: State may be turning the corner on virus
Even as the coronavirus pandemic claimed a newborn baby in Louisiana, Gov. John Bel Edwards said Monday the latest COVID-19 hospital admission and death rates could suggest new infections are slowing as more residents stay home and away from others.
Lousiana Police: Man accused of shooting officer arrested in standoff today
A Louisiana man accused of shooting and wounding a police officer was forcibly taken into custody Monday after an hours long standoff, authorities said.
Nursing home patients trying unproven virus drug in Texas
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says about 30 nursing home residents near Houston who tested positive for the coronavirus are receiving treatment with an anti-malaria drug not yet officially approved for fighting COVID-19.
Traffic to be Limited to One-way at a Time at FM 1398 Near Hooks
Construction work expected to take about three months
COVID-19 Update from TASD
On Monday, April 6, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson announced that all Arkansas schools will remain closed for on-site instruction for the remainder of the school year.
Arkansas coronavirus cases up to 830, governor to wear mask
The number of coronavirus cases in Arkansas has risen to at least 830 and COVID-19 deaths increased to 16, state health secretary Dr. Nathaniel Smith said Sunday.
VA extends financial, benefits and claims relief to Veterans
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced a number of actions to provide Veterans with financial, benefits and claims help amid VA's COVID-19 response.
Churchgoers flock to hear Louisiana pastor despite virus ban
Pastor Tony Spell says Judge Roy Moore has been hired to represent his church and defend him against criminal charges. Moore will hold a press conference today at noon.
Federal inmates to be locked in cells for 14 days amid virus
WASHINGTON (AP) — The federal Bureau of Prisons is locking all its 146,000 inmates in their cells for the next two weeks in an unparalleled effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus, as the focus shifts to a Louisiana compound, where three inmates have died and nearly 20 others remain hospitalized.