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Export Composition and Manufacturing Employment in the US during the Economic Downturn of 1991-92

  • Chemistry
  • Economics


This paper examines the effect that export composition had upon manufacturing employment in the US during the 1991 recession. Although it takes, on average, approximately $66 000 in exports to create one job, the exact gains in terms of total employment depend upon the labour-intensity of the products being exported. Foreign sales by the chemical and textile industries result in a far greater increase in employment than exports by the petroleum refining or steel industries. This analysis estimates the employment effects of manufacturing exports over the 1989-95 period, utilizing an input-output model to capture both direct and indirect effects. The results demonstrate that export composition has, at times, both strengthened and reduced demand for labour. Consequently, if job-creation is a national goal, it may be in the interests of the US to promote exports from sectors that are labour-using.

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