Washington’s Trade-Related Job Losses on the Rise in Recent Years

Seattle, Wash. — Washington’s trade-related job loss has increased over the last three years, according to a new analysis of U.S. Labor Department data conducted by the Washington Fair Trade Coalition Education Fund (WFTCEF). As such, Washington ranks among the hardest hit states in the country.

“The numbers don’t lie. Things aren’t getting better,” said WFTCEF’s Hillary Haden.  “Washington is hemorrhaging more and more jobs to offshoring week after week, with devastating effects on the state’s working families, our communities and our economy.”

Trade policy experts from WFTCEF compiled and reviewed data from the federal government’s Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program, which provides extended unemployment benefits to a subset of workers that the Department of Labor certifies as having lost their jobs either due to direct offshoring or displacement by imports.  The government data reveal:

  • Trade-Related Job Loss Is on The Rise in Washington: Washington experienced a 133% increase in trade-related job losses over the last three years in comparison to the three years before that, with 10,323 job losses certified for TAA on petitions filed between 2017 and 2019 compared to 7,780 between 2014 and 2016. The state likewise suffered an uptick in trade-related job losses in 2019 over the year before.
  • Washington Is Among the Hardest Hit States in the Country: Despite only being the thirteenth largest state by population, Washington experienced the ninth highest overall trade-related job loss numbers in the country from 2017–2019. When measured by population, Washington experienced the fifth highest trade-related job loss over that period. These rankings are worse than Washington’s historically predictable position as the state with the thirteenth most TAA certifications in the country from 1994–2019.
  • All Corners of the State Have Been Affected: Cities and towns with more than 100 TAA certifications over the last three years include: Arlington (436 certified job losses); Auburn (126 certified job losses); Bellingham (253 certified job losses); Camas (845 certified job losses); Everett (188 certified job losses); Kirkland (118 certified job losses); Longview (147 certified job losses); Metaline Falls (299 certified job losses); Moses Lake (175 certified job losses); Port Angeles (118 certified job losses); Redmond (176 certified job losses); Renton (160 certified job losses); Republic (165 certified job losses); Seattle (281 certified job losses); Spokane (310 certified job losses); Sumner (250 certified job losses); Sunnyside (300 certified job losses); Tukwila (5,275 certified job losses); and Vancouver (650 certified job losses).

Additional data from the U.S. Census Bureau also shows that the U.S. trade deficit in goods has been on the rise over the last three years, reaching over $852 billion in 2019. While Washington itself is one of the rare states in the country with a trade surplus in goods, it experienced a roughly 56% drop in its cumulative surplus in 2017, 2018 and 2019 compared to that of 2014, 2015 and 2016.

“Outsourced jobs have consequences for Washington communities — less income, cut-off benefits, and instability for the families directly affected — but the wider community is also often hurt,” said Larry Brown, President of the Washington State Labor Council.  “When thousands of Washington’s jobs are shipped overseas there is less tax revenue to invest in education, workforce training, and infrastructure. These investments are vital for our state to compete for good jobs in the future. Offshoring our state’s jobs also reduces revenue for other vital public services and for healthcare. There’s less money remaining for people to spend at local businesses, and there’s also a very real downward pressure on the wages and benefits of the jobs that are left.”

“The last three years of trade policies that were supposed to put ‘America First’ actually continued putting corporations first. If we’re going to stop bleeding jobs in Washington, the administration needs to stop advancing bad policies that actively encouraging outsourcing — like the 2017 tax bill that gave a better tax rate to companies that offshore production or January’s China trade deal that created new safeguards for companies that move jobs overseas,” said Greg Pallesen, President of the Association of Western Pulp and Paper Workers.

“If we want corporations to stop sending our jobs around the globe to wherever workers are most exploited and regulations are the weakest, we need to negotiate trade deals that require enforcement of labor and environmental provisions, and raise wages and living standards,” said Jackie Boschok, a retired Machinist from IAM 751.

The TAA data used for this analysis is particularly reliable as it provides a hard count of actual jobs lost at actual worksites, rather than relying on the economic modeling found in most government, academic and industry group reports about job effects of U.S. trade policy. That said, the TAA certification numbers included here fall far short of the true number of jobs in Washington lost due to trade — both because the TAA program has never covered all categories of work adversely affected by trade and because worksites where no one actively applies for TAA are not captured in the dataset.

A full copy of the WFTCEF analysis is online here.

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Recent TAA Certifications in Washington

Company NameCityPetition DateJob Losses
Grays Harbor Community HospitalAberdeen26-Feb-1827
McFarland Cascade Holdings, Inc.Arlington15-Feb-1722
Senior Aerospace AMTArlington6-Mar-20414
Zones, Inc.Auburn21-Feb-18120
Loud Audio, LLCAuburn16-Oct-186
Valente GlobalBellevue18-Dec-1810
Lionbridge Technologies, Inc.Bellevue16-Feb-1732
Healthcare Management Administrators, Inc.Bellevue18-Sep-1815
Lumedx Inc.Bellevue7-May-1922
Smartfocus US Inc.Bellevue12-Jun-196
Zodiac AerospaceBellingham3-Jul-17253
Georgia-Pacific Consumer Operations LLCCamas8-Mar-18419
Sharp Laboratories of America, Inc.Camas6-Apr-17143
Sharp Electronics CorporationCamas17-Aug-1760
Karcher North AmericaCamas20-Aug-19223
Hearth and Home TechnologiesColville28-Sep-1785
Jamco America, Inc.Everett19-Apr-17163
M.Torres America, Inc.Everett5-Dec-1725
E. Roko Distributions, Inc.Kent4-Oct-1923
Lowe’s Home Centers, LLCKirkland22-Mar-19118
Itron Inc.Liberty Lake16-Apr-1812
North Pacific Paper Company, LLCLongview2-Oct-17147
Boyd Coffee CompanyLynnwood27-Oct-175
Honeywell International Inc.Lynnwood3-Jul-1815
Teck Washington IncorporatedMetaline Falls29-May-19299
Joyson Safety SystemsMoses Lake2-May-1861
REC Solar Grade Silicon LLCMoses Lake7-Sep-18114
Stampede Forest Products, Inc.Omak8-Mar-1735
Nippon Paper Industries USA Co. LtdPort Angeles9-Mar-17118
Wyndham Vacation Ownership, Inc.Redmond14-Nov-19176
Providence Health & Services-WashingtonRenton18-Jul-19141
Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of WashingtonRenton4-Feb-2019
Echo Bay Minerals CompanyRepublic24-Oct-1797
Alaska Aggregate and Aspect ConsultingRepublic24-Oct-1710
Echo Bay Minerals CompanyRepublic19-Nov-1945
HR Advantages LLC, Republic SecurityRepublic19-Nov-1913
McFarland Cascade Holdings, Inc.Rochester15-Feb-1723
GM Nameplate, Inc.Seattle13-Sep-1722
The Seattle TimesSeattle16-Feb-173
International Business Machines (IBM)Seattle25-Sep-179
Avanade Inc.Seattle13-Dec-173
CellNetixSeattle12-Feb-1865
Aviation Partners Boeing Inc.Seattle26-Mar-1831
Star Forge LLCSeattle10-May-18110
Filson ManufacturingSeattle6-Aug-1939
McFarland Cascade Holdings, Inc.Shelton15-Feb-178
Boyd Coffee CompanySpokane27-Oct-173
Triumph Composite Systems, Inc.Spokane23-Jan-17138
Lincare Inc.Spokane13-Sep-176
Allianz Global Corporate & SpecialtySpokane11-Apr-189
Web.com Group, Inc.Spokane8-May-1979
Triumph Composites Systems, Inc.Spokane5-Sep-1975
Ciena CorporationSpokane Valley10-Sep-1828
Kellogg Sales CompanySumner5-Dec-17250
Seneca Foods LLCSunnyside9-Aug-19300
TrueBlue, Inc. and StaffManagement, Inc.Tacoma6-Nov-1746
KeyBank NATacoma11-Jul-181
The Boeing CompanyTukwila19-May-175,275
Columbia River LogisticsVancouver17-May-18467
Windstream Services, LLCVancouver4-Oct-1731
Sunlight Supply Inc.Vancouver6-Dec-1747
Sigma Design, Inc.Vancouver4-Feb-1950
HP Inc.Vancouver27-Jun-1952
Workers of Insight Global, Inc., Accion Labs Inc., Adea Solutions, etc.Vancouver27-Jun-193
Loud Audio, LLCWoodinville16-Oct-1893

Source: “Petitions and Determination Data,” U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration, Office of Trade Adjustment Assistance (OTAA). https://www.dol.gov/agencies/eta/tradeact/data/petitions-determinations

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