New Study Reveals Imports Support 16 Million U.S. Jobs

Sunday, May 5, 2013 - 8:00pm

Chamber Joins Other Business Groups to Release Study Showing Extensive Benefits of Imports to U.S. Workers, Families, Firms

WASHINGTON, D.C.— The U.S. Chamber of Commerce today joined with three other business organizations to release an economic impact study titled Imports Work for America, which finds that more than 16 million U.S. jobs depend on imports.

“We’ve long known that imports are vital to manufacturers, who rely on imported raw materials and intermediate goods to maintain their competitive edge, and to families trying to make ends meet,” said U.S. Chamber Vice President for International Affairs John Murphy. “This landmark study goes a step further by showing how imports support growth, jobs, and even U.S. exports.”

The Consumer Electronics Association, the National Retail Federation, and the American Apparel & Footwear Association joined the Chamber in commissioning the study, which was prepared by Laura M. Baughman and Dr. Joseph F. Francois of Trade Partnership Worldwide, LLC. Among the key findings:

  • Imports improve American families’ standard of living by ensuring a wide selection of budget-friendly goods from clothing and footwear to electronics and fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Imports support more than 16 million American jobs. A large number of these import-related jobs are union jobs, and many are held by minorities and women.
  • More than half the firms that import directly are small businesses, employing fewer than 50 workers.
  • American manufacturers and farmers rely on imports of raw materials and intermediate goods to lower their production costs and stay competitive in domestic and international markets. Factories and farms purchase more than 60% of U.S. imports.
  • Imports generate exports. The United States is integrated into international supply chains so that even U.S. imports contain U.S. exports, particularly those generated in high-skilled and capital-intensive stages of production such as R&D and design.

The study is being released as dozens of companies and business associations prepare to mark the second annual “Imports Work Week” on May 6-10. “Imports Work Week” draws attention to the essential role that imports play in the U.S. and global economy as part of “World Trade Month,” which has been celebrated by presidents of both parties and by the business community for decades. More information is available at and @importswork.

The U.S. Chamber is the world’s largest business federation, representing the interests of more than three million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations. Its International Affairs division includes more than 50 regional and policy experts and 23 country-specific business councils and initiatives. It also works closely with 116 American Chambers of Commerce abroad.