WASHINGTON — The Coalition for a Prosperous America’s (CPA) Chief Economist, Jeff Ferry, will participate today in a virtual panel discussion titled, “International Trade: Where Do We Go From Here?” hosted by the Harvard Club of Washington, D.C. Moderated by Ambassador Catherine A Novelli, Former Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment, the panel will discuss how the United States should develop a future-looking international trade policy that meets current challenges, including a rising China and a restless Russia.
Ferry’s prepared opening remarks are available here, which will be followed by discussion from the panelists.
“Since 2000, the U.S. trade deficit has doubled, from $370 billion to $677 trillion last year,” Ferry plans to say. “We’ve had trade deficits for 45 consecutive years, a world record, and a record that most economists would have told you would be impossible to see in a free market world. Over these 20 years, our growth rate in national income per person has been a paltry 1.18%, compared to the 3%-4% levels we saw before 1970… The fundamental reason for this decline in growth and rise in inequality is the decline of the manufacturing sector. The international data is clear. The most successful advanced economies in the world today are those with large manufacturing sectors. Manufacturing is the driver of economic growth.”
Yesterday, Ferry published a report titled, “The Twin Secrets of Economic Growth.” The report outlines how “the evidence suggests that two important indicators provide the best explanation of the secrets of economic growth. Those indicators are the share of a nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) devoted to manufacturing, and the level of the current account balance as a share of GDP.” Importantly, Ferry provides data that makes clear that “[m]anufacturing is a key contributor to growth because it is the only sector that can create multi-decade broad-based increases in labor productivity, which is the key to rising wages.”
In May, the CPA Economics Team released a new economic report that documents for the first time the severe disparity in historical job quality for Black and Hispanic workers compared to the national average for all U.S. workers. The report, “Quantifying Job Quality for U.S., Black, Hispanic, and Asian American Workers,” calculates the Job Quality Index (JQI) of Black, Hispanic, and Asian American workers from 2007 to 2020. The report shows that, despite rising incomes, Black American job quality since 2007 has declined from 41.2 to 38.7 — more than 40 points below the total U.S. JQI — with 28 percent of Black American nonsupervisory workers holding a high-quality job. The JQI for Hispanic Americans was 29.5 in 2007, and rose to 38.1 in 2020. Although a 29 percent increase, this is still at a level that remains well below the national average of all U.S. workers with just 28 percent of Hispanic Americans holding high-quality jobs. The JQI for Asian Americans was substantially higher than the U.S. total JQI in 2007 at 95.3, and has since risen to 158.3 in 2020 — meaning that 61 percent of Asian American workers were in high-quality jobs.
Additional panelists include: Kira Alvarez, VP of Government Relations at ViacomCBS; Adam Posen, President of Peterson Institute for International Economics; Clyde Prestowitz, author of The World Turned Upside Down: America, China, and the Struggle for Global Leadership. For more information and to watch the Harvard Club panel discussion click here.
Read Ferry’s prepared opening remarks here.