This image was taken from a real label that was found on the streets of New York.
The economic value of China's annual exports to the United States is estimated to be $417 billion, and growing each year. The number of American jobs lost to Chinese imports each year is likely in the hundreds of thousands. This data may help to explain why the Obama administration has struggled with a nagging unemployment rate of approximately 8%, even as the stock market reaches record highs.
It is no surprise to the consumer that very little furniture, electronics, toys or apparel are manufactured in the U.S. any longer, as these items are increasingly imported from China and other developing nations.
The Wall Street Journal has reported that the negative impact of cheap Chinese imports on the American economy is far greater than previously thought.
Similarly, a Wall Street Journal report in April 2012 found that America’s largest multinational corporations outsourced more than 2.4 million jobs over the last decade, even as they cut their overall workforces by 2.9 million.
Outsourcing jobs to a cheaper foreign labor pool, and increasing the number of cheaply made products from China makes perfectly sound business sense at the microcosmic level in the short-term. Indeed, Wal-Mart has generated billions of dollars in profits derived virtually entirely from this very business model.
However, as a long-term matter, this strategy has the potential to tarnish brands, lower quality, encourage counterfeiting, and even destroy entire industries.
For example, in Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster, author Dana Thomas chronicles how some luxury brands have resorted to cheap, Chinese mass-market production methods, and how doing so has risked their previously sterling reputations.
No industry is immune from the effects of globalization, cheap imports and job outsourcing. Ironically, even U.S. patent lawyers have seen previously high-paying jobs outsourced overseas.