Throughout the year, the Trump administration has levied new tariffs on goods from China, Canada and the European Union. Fears about the effects of these tariffs have clouded otherwise sunny job reports over the past few months.
“The trade war is having an impact on large companies. They’re starting to become more cautious in their hiring,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, on CNBC’s Squawk Box in September.
How many jobs have these tariffs cost? So far, 685 American workers have lost their jobs due to the trade war, per a recent report from outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
Bloomberg reported that companies in Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Missouri, South Carolina and Washington have cut jobs because of tariffs. Affected industries include industrial goods, electronics, media and food services.
Will Job Losses Continue?
If you’re looking at that number and thinking that 685 jobs isn’t a lot — at least not compared to some of the more catastrophic estimates — wait. The effects are still unfolding.
Earlier this week, Ford announced that it will be making cuts to its white-collar workforce, which currently numbers 70,000 employees. While the company hasn’t released estimates of how many jobs it will cut, Ford has said that tariffs have cost the company $1 billion.
Per NBC News:
“A lot of the (reorganization) is about making different choices about strategy,” Chief Financial Officer Bob Shanks told NBC News, adding that the goal isn’t just to slash spending but to improve the “fitness” of the company.
However, a recent report by Morgan Stanley estimates “a global headcount reduction of approximately 12 percent,” or 24,000 of Ford’s 202,000 workers worldwide. “Such a magnitude of reduction is not without precedent in the auto industry,” analysts wrote in the investment note.
Small businesses have suffered as well. Yesterday, The Nashua Telegraph noted that several small manufacturing companies experienced an impact from tariffs.
“Because of the size of company, we cannot purchase steel in large volumes,” said Steve Carter, president of Williams & Hussey Machine Co. Inc., based in Amherst, NH.
Predictions for Future Impact
In September, Stuart Anderson, the executive director of the National Foundation for American Policy, provided this analysis at Forbes:
The tariffs already enacted will eliminate 94,303 full-time equivalent jobs, according to an analysis by the Tax Foundation. If the Trump administration goes forward with its announced tariffs on automobiles and a wider range of Chinese imports, then it would lead to 292,648 fewer jobs, concludes the Tax Foundation. Retaliation from China, Canada and Europe would eliminate another 72,864 jobs.
Anderson’s column ran a week before the announcement of the revised North American Free Trade Agreement — now called the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). However, economists warn that the USMCA may lead to higher-priced North American-made autos and thus increased imports from Europe and Asia.
Ultimately, American workers (as well as consumers) could wind up paying the price. Only time will tell.
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