Download publication

External Publication

Manufacturing employment, international trade, and China

The decline in manufacturing employment is often seen as a major reason for rising inequality, social tensions, and the slump of entire communities. With the rise of national populists and protectionists in recent years, the issue has become even more prominent.

By: and Date: November 28, 2019 Topic: Global Economics & Governance

The objective of this paper is to better understand the evolution of manufacturing employment across the world. Manufacturing value added has grown rapidly since 2000, at least matching world GDP growth, even after the global financial crisis, reflecting mainly rising demand for manufactures especially in developing countries. However, manufacturing employment increased at only a slow pace, both before and after the global financial crisis. Manufacturing employment growth provided only about 10% of the new jobs needed to compensate for losses in agriculture and the growth of the active population. Most of the net job creation in manufacturing was in China, while most countries – both developing and developed – saw manufacturing employment decline as a share of total employment and several, including all or nearly all advanced countries, saw an absolute decline. The remarkable economic transformation in China has brought shifts in employment within the country, which were far larger, in fact of a different order of magnitude, than in other countries, entailing the redeployment towards manufacturing of tens of millions of workers, mainly drawn from agriculture. But, because China tends to consume much of the manufactures it produces, especially since the financial crisis, its increased integration into world trade is not at the root of the manufacturing employment stagnation in the rest of the world. In the sample of the countries we examined, including the United States, the increase in labour productivity in manufactures, due to automation and improved methods, was a far more important cause of employment decline than shifts in the manufacturing trade balance, contrary to a commonly held view. We find only weak evidence that the size of the manufacturing sector – measured in different ways — is associated with rapid economic growth. Several countries have grown at a reasonable pace without seeing a large increase in the relative size of their manufacturing sector. While the growth of labour productivity in the manufacturing sector is higher than that of the economy as a whole on average, several economies saw economy-wide labour productivity grow faster than labour productivity in manufacturing, including several countries in East Asia.

Read article More on this topic More by this author
 

Opinion

Coronavirus recovery: invest rainy day savings to boost Hong Kong’s economy

The Hong Kong government might want to consider diversifying its economy by using part of the savings earmarked for rainy days. Beyond cushioning the negative impact of Covid-19 on SMEs and households, it is one more reason to spend.

By: Alicia García-Herrero Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: August 6, 2020
Read article More on this topic
 

Opinion

China Has an Unfair Advantage in the EU Market. What Can Be Done to Level the Playing Field?

This article has originally been published in Brink News. The dominance of Chinese state-owned enterprises in China’s domestic market is giving them unfair advantages in the European Union single market as well. The EU Commission recently released a series of recommendations for leveling the playing field regarding foreign subsidies. Unfortunately, while useful, these ideas are unlikely to […]

By: Alicia García-Herrero and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: July 28, 2020
Read article More on this topic
 

Opinion

Can households in the European Union make ends meet?

Half the households surveyed by Eurostat see themselves as unable to find the resources they would need to cope with an unexpected expense within a month, estimated by experts at €375 in the case of Greece.

By: Maria Demertzis, Marta Domínguez-Jiménez and Annamaria Lusardi Topic: Finance & Financial Regulation Date: July 24, 2020
Read article More on this topic
 

Blog Post

China's targeted corporate shopping spree to continue, especially in Europe

Expect small, below the radar deals to continue to flourish and, by the same token, Europe to lose part of its edge in industrial technology and other strategic sectors.

By: Alicia García-Herrero and Jianwei Xu Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: July 17, 2020
Read article More on this topic
 

Blog Post

Debt relief for Sub-Saharan Africa: what now?

When G20 finance heads meet on 18 July, Europe will again need to lead on the group’s flagship COVID-19 initiative to postpone low-income countries’ debt service payments. For the first time, China has agreed to participate as an official creditor alongside members of the Paris Club. However, continuing lack of clarity on which Chinese creditors will participate, coupled with resistance from private sector creditors to voluntary participation, suggest that actual relief will be much less than originally planned.

By: Suman Bery, Sybrand Brekelmans and Alicia García-Herrero Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: July 14, 2020
Read article More on this topic
 

Blog Post

Ukraine: trade reorientation from Russia to the EU

Over the past five years conflict has led to a deterioration of Russo-Ukrainian economic relations while ties with the EU have been deepened. This shift is evident in trade flows: the European Union has become Ukraine’s biggest trading partner, while China is poised to overtake Russia as its second. Natural gas imports from Russia, Ukraine’s prior Achilles heel, have been partially replaced by reverse deliveries from the EU and reduced as result of reform of the gas sector.

By: Marek Dabrowski, Marta Domínguez-Jiménez and Georg Zachmann Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: July 13, 2020
Read article More on this topic
 

Blog Post

Europe’s China problem: investment screening and state aid

China’s state capitalist economy poses a challenge to EU openness to foreign investment. In response, the European Commission 17 June published a White Paper on “levelling the playing field with regard to state aid”, contemplating sensible and balanced policies to protect the integrity of the European single market from subsidised foreign acquisitions. However, against the backdrop of collapsing global capital flows and limited existing FDI from China, there is little risk of excessive exposure, indeed a deepening of bilateral investment flows would be beneficial for both economies.

By: Marta Domínguez-Jiménez and Niclas Poitiers Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: July 2, 2020
Read article More on this topic
 

Opinion

Toward a smart Indian response to China

Rather than risking its soldiers' lives on the border, India should join 'middle power' economic coalitions to address China's behavior.

By: Suman Bery and Alicia García-Herrero Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: June 23, 2020
Read article Download PDF More on this topic
 

External Publication

EU-China trade and investment relations in challenging times

In this report, we have focused on trade and investment relations and have not attempted to define the many other policy instruments that the EU can and should pursue to increase its leverage towards China, and to protect its domestic economy while boosting domestic investment and trade.

By: Alicia García-Herrero, Guntram B. Wolff, Jianwei Xu, Niclas Poitiers, Gabriel Felbermayr, Rolf J. Langhammer, Wan-Hsin Liu and Alexander Sandkamp Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: June 4, 2020
Read article More on this topic More by this author
 

Opinion

COVID-19 and India: economic impact and response

This piece was published the day before India imposed one of the world's strictest lockdowns in its response to the COVID-19 response. It remains relevant in assessing the government's actions in the ten weeks that have since passed.

By: Suman Bery Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: May 27, 2020
Read article More on this topic More by this author
 

Opinion

Reading tea leaves from China’s two sessions: Large monetary and fiscal stimulus and still no growth guarantee

The announcement of a large stimulus without a growth target indicates that China’s recovery is far from complete.

By: Alicia García-Herrero Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: May 25, 2020
Read article More by this author
 

Podcast

Podcast

China’s financial system: opening up and system risk

China is opening up its financial sector- What does that mean for China and the world?

By: The Sound of Economics Topic: Finance & Financial Regulation, Global Economics & Governance Date: May 22, 2020
Load more posts