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August 1982, Vol. 105, No. 8
Imports and domestic employment:
identifying affected industries
Gregory K. Schoepfle
Concern about the performance of U.S. industries in domestic and international markets has led to increasing interest in the development of indicators of the domestic market share accounted for by imports. Accordingly, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has begun constructing measures which, when applied in conjunction with other information, could be used to identify domestic industries that might be experiencing adverse employment effects or other adjustment problems because of changing international trade patterns. Analysis of the geographic concentration of domestic production and employment for these sectors could help Federal agencies target assistance programs for workers, communities, and industries.
This article considers the problems of constructing indicators of import market share at the 4-digit Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) level,1 and discusses some of the main features and trends of the BLS trade monitoring statistics. Data examined so far show that, between 1972 and 1979, the import share of the domestic market for manufactured goods rose moderately. However, among the 318 manufacturing groups studied separately, 72 were found to be "import-sensitive"that is, having experienced either a sustained high level or a substantial increase in import share of U.S. sales during 1972-79. Employment declines over this period were reported in 38 of the 79 domestic industries which produce products similar to those in "import-sensitive" groups; more than half of these 38 industries were involved in the manufacture of textile, apparel, and leather goods products. The limitations of these measures are examined in the appendix.
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1 Commodity classification is based upon the Standard Industrial Classification Manual: 1972 (Washington, U.S. Government Printing Office), and its 1977 Supplement. See the appendix for a more detailed description of the methods used to classify imports, exports, and domestic output.
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