Outsourcing America’s Pollution to China

Read the news today and it is fairly certain that you will come away with the idea that American Businesses are betraying the country and sending thousands of vital manufacturing jobs, high tech jobs and Customer Service jobs out of the country to China and India.

It is a reasonable concept. After all, one can look at horrifying stats such as the ones below:

Total number of U.S. jobs outsourced in 2015                                                                2,382,000

Number of jobs outsourced to China since 2001                                                            3,200,000

Number of California jobs lost to outsourcing since 2001                                                 560,000

Percent of CFO’s surveyed who said their firm was currently offshore outsourcing                38%

Percent of CFO’s who favored India for outsourcing                                                               26%

Percent of CFO’s who favored China for outsourcing                                                              18%

These look scary until one looks at the effect of this. Is there really a huge effect on the number of Americans employed once jobs are outsourced? The answer appears to be a resounding NO!

Did we Outsource jobs or Pollution to China?

Surprising? Yes? Maybe…

Below is a graph of employment figures in the USA since 1950.
source: tradingeconomics.com

As can be seen from the graph, aside from dips due to recessions, the trend of the graph does not change.

And it is very clearly seen from the graph that the last “Great Recession” was a major cause of any lost jobs in the past decade. Once the recession ended, the number of available jobs continued its steady rise.

But look at the statistics of pollution levels in the USA since we started really outsourcing manufacturing to China:

Nationally, concentrations of the criteria air pollutants have dropped significantly since 1990:

  • Carbon Monoxide (CO) 8-Hour,                                       Down 77%
  • Lead (Pb) 3-Month Average,                                            Down 99%
  • Nitrogen Dioxide (NO) Annual,                                         Down 54%
  • Nitrogen Dioxide (NO) 1-Hour,                                         Down 47%
  • Ozone (O3) 8-Hour,                                                         Down 22%
  • Particulate Matter 10 microns (PM) 24-Hour,                   Down 39%
  • Particulate Matter 2.5 microns (PM) Annual,                    Down 37%
  • Particulate Matter 2.5 microns (PM) 24-Hour,                  Down 37%
  • Sulfur Dioxide (SO) 1-Hour,                                              Down 81%

During this same period the U.S. economy continued to grow, Americans drove more miles and population and energy use increased.

While in China, the quality of air has dramatically worsened.6558076321_81207b6dd7_z

Do we really want those manufacturing jobs back? Do we really want to have to wear gas masks every time we go outside? Do we really want those bad health effects on our children while they are growing up?

Interestingly, violent crime in the USA has gone up and down almost in concert with the level of pollution in the USA. So violent crime has also dropped dramatically since we started outsourcing our pollution to China!