Press Release | May 20, 2021

21 Million U.S. Jobs Depend on Imports, New Study Shows

Laura Ambrosio
Imports support more than 21 million American jobs, according to a new economic impact study, Imports Work for American Workers, released today by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)® along with eight other business organizations.

The study focuses on the net impact of imports on U.S. jobs – including statistics on sectors, such as retail, apparel, transportation, manufacturing and consumer technology. The study also looks at how trade policy initiatives pending before Congress and the administration have the potential to preserve or diminish import-related jobs.

“Imports are a vital part of the global supply chain that support American businesses and workers across the country,” said Sage Chandler, vice president of international trade, CTA. “It is essential that businesses have certainty in the global market, including access to imports free of burdensome tariffs. We need Congress and the Biden Administration to ensure fair and sustainable trade policies that protect American jobs and companies.”

Among the key findings:
  • Imports support more than 21 million American jobs across the country, including a net positive number in every U.S. state. The 10 states accounting for the largest number of import-related jobs are California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia.
  • Imports from key trading partners – including Canada, China, the European Union and Mexico – support a net positive number of U.S. jobs. 
  • Import-related jobs are good jobs that pay competitive wages. Nearly 8 million of the jobs related to importing are held by minorities and 2.5 million jobs are held by workers represented by unions. 
  • The vast majority (96 percent) of companies who import are small or medium-sized businesses.
  • U.S. trade policies, many now pending before Congress and the Administration, have the potential to both support and hurt these jobs. 
CTA, the American Apparel and Footwear Association, the American Chemistry Council, the National Foreign Trade Council, the National Retail Federation, the Retail Industry Leaders Association, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the U.S. Fashion Industry Association, and the U.S. Global Value Chain Coalition commissioned the study, which was prepared by Laura M. Baughman and Dr. Joseph F. Francois of Trade Partnership Worldwide, LLC. 

The study is being released during “World Trade Week” as part of “World Trade Month” to highlight the essential role that imports play in the U.S. and global economy. Join the conversation on social media using #ImportsWork.