Industries Where Your Job Is Most Likely To Get Outsourced

·7 min read
kali9 / Getty Images
kali9 / Getty Images

In the current political environment, it can be hard to separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to trade deficits, job losses and China. To help cut through all the noise, the Economic Policy Institute conducted an extensive study of U.S.-China trade data to determine the net amount of job losses across America. Data from the U.S. International Trade Commission DataWeb was conformed to Bureau of Labor Statistics industry classifications to determine the results, which were further parsed by state and by Congressional district.

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The results were perhaps not surprising but nonetheless dramatic in some cases. Net-net, the growth in the trade deficit between 2001 and 2018 resulted in the loss of 3.7 million U.S. jobs, with losses occurring across every state and Congressional district. Although job losses occurred in numerous industries, American manufacturing has suffered the most. More than three-fourths of all job losses came in manufacturing, with a net 2,793,200 jobs lost. Since China entered the World Trade Organization in 2001, the U.S. trade deficit with China has grown tenfold, from $11.8 billion in 2002 to $134.6 billion in 2018.

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In spite of the breadth and depth of U.S. job losses, there are certain industries that are more likely to get outsourced than others, based on the data. But the good news is that the economy as a whole continues to grow. Using this information, you can look for a job in industries that are recession-resistant and also less likely to be outsourced.

Last updated: June 15, 2021

Manufacturing of Nondurable Goods: Beverage and Tobacco Products

  • Number of jobs lost: 100

  • Shares of total jobs displaced: 0%

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petroleum gas plant
petroleum gas plant

Manufacturing of Industrial Supplies: Petroleum and Coal Products

  • Number of jobs lost: 1,300

  • Shares of total jobs displaced: 0%

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Shot of a young teacher educating a group of elementary children.
Shot of a young teacher educating a group of elementary children.

Education Services

  • Number of jobs lost: 1,600

  • Shares of total jobs displaced: 0.00%

Check Out: Industries That Suffered the Most in 2020

Doctor showing digital tablet to female patient.
Doctor showing digital tablet to female patient.

Healthcare and Social Assistance

  • Number of jobs lost: 1,700

  • Shares of total jobs displaced: 0%

Oil refinery at twilight.
Oil refinery at twilight.

Mining: Minerals and Ores

  • Number of jobs lost: 3,600

  • Shares of total jobs displaced: 0.10%

LOCKPORT, NEW YORK, USA- MAY 20, 2017: Lockport Railroad Bridge (Upside-Down Bridge), This bridge is a multi-span railroad bridge built in 1902 in Lockport, New York, USA.
LOCKPORT, NEW YORK, USA- MAY 20, 2017: Lockport Railroad Bridge (Upside-Down Bridge), This bridge is a multi-span railroad bridge built in 1902 in Lockport, New York, USA.

Manufacturing of Durable Goods: Railroad, Ship and Other Transportation Equipment

  • Number of jobs lost: 7,200

  • Shares of total jobs displaced: 0.20%

The manual selection of fruits: workers ckecking oranges to reject the seconde-rate ones.
The manual selection of fruits: workers ckecking oranges to reject the seconde-rate ones.

Manufacturing of Nondurable Goods: Food

  • Number of jobs lost: 9,800

  • Shares of total jobs displaced: 0.30%

Medium shot of an actor and actress rehearsing a scene in the theater while holding their scripts.
Medium shot of an actor and actress rehearsing a scene in the theater while holding their scripts.

Arts, Entertainment and Recreation

  • Number of jobs lost: 10,400

  • Shares of total jobs displaced: 0.30%

Architects looking at the view from a construction site and pointing at a crane.
Architects looking at the view from a construction site and pointing at a crane.

Construction

  • Number of jobs lost: 13,700

  • Shares of total jobs displaced: 0.40%

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electrical power-line installer, repairer
electrical power-line installer, repairer

Utilities

  • Number of jobs lost: 13,900

  • Shares of total jobs displaced: 0.40%

Real estate agent showing new house to couple - Image.
Real estate agent showing new house to couple - Image.

Real Estate and Rental and Leasing

  • Number of jobs lost: 19,000

  • Shares of total jobs displaced: 0.50%

worker man hand measuring with micrometer in a workshop beside the turning machine.
worker man hand measuring with micrometer in a workshop beside the turning machine.

Manufacturing of Durable Goods: Navigational, Measuring, Electromedical and Control Instruments

  • Number of jobs lost: 21,100

  • Shares of total jobs displaced: 0.60%

Paper factory.
Paper factory.

Manufacturing of Industrial Supplies: Paper

  • Number of jobs lost: 28,600

  • Shares of total jobs displaced: 0.80%

mature man Working at a timber/lumber warehouse.
mature man Working at a timber/lumber warehouse.

Manufacturing of Industrial Supplies: Wood Products

  • Number of jobs lost: 31,300

  • Shares of total jobs displaced: 0.80%

Group of young modern people in smart casual wear discussing business while working in the creative office.
Group of young modern people in smart casual wear discussing business while working in the creative office.

Other Services (Except Public Administration)

  • Number of jobs lost: 33,400

  • Shares of total jobs displaced: 0.90%

Paper factory.
Paper factory.

Manufacturing of Nondurable Goods: Printed Matter and Related Products

  • Number of jobs lost: 33,600

  • Shares of total jobs displaced: 0.90%

Large semi truck hauling freight on the open highway in the western USA under an evening sky.
Large semi truck hauling freight on the open highway in the western USA under an evening sky.

Manufacturing of Durable Goods: Transportation Equipment

  • Number of jobs lost: 33,900

  • Shares of total jobs displaced: 0.90%

Government

  • Number of jobs lost: 34,500

  • Shares of total jobs displaced: 0.90%

Oil pump cold winter and snow.
Oil pump cold winter and snow.

Manufacturing of Industrial Supplies: Nonmetallic Mineral Products

  • Number of jobs lost: 37,900

  • Shares of total jobs displaced: 1%

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Group of men working at a chemical warehouse classifying barrels.
Group of men working at a chemical warehouse classifying barrels.

Manufacturing of Industrial Supplies: Chemicals

  • Number of jobs lost: 39,100

  • Shares of total jobs displaced: 1.10%

Wait staff and kitchen staff working and serving customers over the counter in a fast food restaurant.
Wait staff and kitchen staff working and serving customers over the counter in a fast food restaurant.

Accommodation and Food Services

  • Number of jobs lost: 42,600

  • Shares of total jobs displaced: 1.2%

Modern interior of server room in datacenter.
Modern interior of server room in datacenter.

Information

  • Number of jobs lost: 45,900

  • Shares of total jobs displaced: 1.20%

Male arm in suit offer insurance form clipped to pad and silver pen to sign closeup.
Male arm in suit offer insurance form clipped to pad and silver pen to sign closeup.

Finance and Insurance

  • Number of jobs lost: 51,600

  • Shares of total jobs displaced: 1.40%

Two businessman sitting in office lobby discussing work over a cup of coffee.
Two businessman sitting in office lobby discussing work over a cup of coffee.

Management of Companies and Enterprises

  • Number of jobs lost: 57,400

  • Shares of total jobs displaced: 1.60%

Saleswoman (16-17 years, mixed race African American) helping customer.
Saleswoman (16-17 years, mixed race African American) helping customer.

Retail Trade

  • Number of jobs lost: 57,500

  • Shares of total jobs displaced: 1.60%

Two senior men using welding torch to cut metal sheet in workshop.
Two senior men using welding torch to cut metal sheet in workshop.

Manufacturing of Durable Goods: Primary Metals

  • Number of jobs lost: 59,200

  • Shares of total jobs displaced: 1.60%

Two workers wearing green shirts and blue pants work underneath a car in an automobile factory.
Two workers wearing green shirts and blue pants work underneath a car in an automobile factory.

Manufacturing of Durable Goods: Motor Vehicles and Motor Vehicle Parts

  • Number of jobs lost: 66,000

  • Shares of total jobs displaced: 1.80%

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The MAX: Rail train cars coming and going on their tracks in downtown Portland city.
The MAX: Rail train cars coming and going on their tracks in downtown Portland city.

Transportation and Warehousing

  • Number of jobs lost: 76,000

  • Shares of total jobs displaced: 2.10%

Horizontal color image of futuristic factory.
Horizontal color image of futuristic factory.

Manufacturing of Industrial Supplies: Plastics and Rubber Products

  • Number of jobs lost: 93,200

  • Shares of total jobs displaced: 2.50%

A scientist using a pipette with a microtiter plate and a petri dish.
A scientist using a pipette with a microtiter plate and a petri dish.

Professional, Scientific and Technical Services

  • Number of jobs lost: 118,000

  • Shares of total jobs displaced: 3.20%

Household appliance assembly line with a conveyor belt and automated robotic arms.
Household appliance assembly line with a conveyor belt and automated robotic arms.

Manufacturing of Durable Goods: Machinery, Except Electronics

  • Number of jobs lost: 119,700

  • Shares of total jobs displaced: 3.20%

textiles
textiles

Manufacturing of Nondurable Goods: Textile Mills and Textile Product Mills

  • Number of jobs lost: 125,400

  • Shares of total jobs displaced: 3.40%

The fiber laser cutting machine cutting the sheet metal plate with the sparking light.
The fiber laser cutting machine cutting the sheet metal plate with the sparking light.

Manufacturing of Durable Goods: Miscellaneous Manufactured Commodities

  • Number of jobs lost: 128,400

  • Shares of total jobs displaced: 3.50%

older man in wood shop creating furniture hobby
older man in wood shop creating furniture hobby

Manufacturing of Durable Goods: Furniture and Related Products

  • Number of jobs lost: 146,400

  • Shares of total jobs displaced: 4.00%

Male factory engineer inspecting the work process of the robots performing their operations in appliance manufacturing factory.
Male factory engineer inspecting the work process of the robots performing their operations in appliance manufacturing factory.

Manufacturing of Durable Goods: Electrical Equipment, Appliances and Components

  • Number of jobs lost: 165,200

  • Shares of total jobs displaced: 4.50%

Focus on two Rubbish bins with rubbish truck in background lifting a bin.
Focus on two Rubbish bins with rubbish truck in background lifting a bin.

Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services

  • Number of jobs lost: 173,400

  • Shares of total jobs displaced: 4.70%

Senior male warehouse worker loading or unloading boxes from a pallet truck.
Senior male warehouse worker loading or unloading boxes from a pallet truck.

Wholesale Trade

  • Number of jobs lost: 176,600

  • Shares of total jobs displaced: 4.80%

welder is welding assembly car parts in factory with protection mask.
welder is welding assembly car parts in factory with protection mask.

Manufacturing of Durable Goods: Fabricated Metal Products

  • Number of jobs lost: 193,800

  • Shares of total jobs displaced: 5.20%

Close-up image of craftsperson creasing the edges of leather piece.
Close-up image of craftsperson creasing the edges of leather piece.

Manufacturing of Nondurable Goods: Apparel, Leather and Allied Products

  • Number of jobs lost: 205,700

  • Shares of total jobs displaced: 5.60%

ANTALYA, TURKEY - December 8, 2018: DJI Ronin M and Sony A7R III.
ANTALYA, TURKEY - December 8, 2018: DJI Ronin M and Sony A7R III.

Manufacturing of Durable Goods: Communications, Audio and Video Equipment

  • Number of jobs lost: 293,700

  • Shares of total jobs displaced: 7.90%

An abstract 3D render of a circuit board with many electrical components installed.
An abstract 3D render of a circuit board with many electrical components installed.

Manufacturing of Durable Goods: Semiconductors and Other Electronic Components and Reproducing Magnetic and Optical Media

  • Number of jobs lost: 337,300

  • Shares of total jobs displaced: 9.10%

Low angle view of African American lab worker examining machine part while working in a lab.
Low angle view of African American lab worker examining machine part while working in a lab.

Manufacturing of Durable Goods: Computer and Peripheral Equipment

  • Number of jobs lost: 688,600

  • Shares of total jobs displaced: 18.60%

electronic renovation in repair shop.
electronic renovation in repair shop.

Manufacturing of Durable Goods: Computer and Electronic Parts

  • Number of jobs lost: 1,340,600

  • Shares of total jobs displaced: 36.20%

Disappointed male it developers stressed with application problem using technology for distance job, young hipster guys annoyed with bad news making booking via telephone and discussing solution - Image.
Disappointed male it developers stressed with application problem using technology for distance job, young hipster guys annoyed with bad news making booking via telephone and discussing solution - Image.

What To Do Next

One important factor to note about this study is that it was conducted before the current spate of tariffs. The data in the Economic Policy Institute study only runs through 2018, well before the escalation of the trade war between the U.S. and China. If the patterns noted in the EPI report continue, it stands to reason that additional job losses may occur. For example, data from Moody's Analytics suggests that the current trade war with China has cost nearly 300,000 U.S. jobs.

So, what is the American worker to do in this scenario to avoid getting caught in the middle? There are no easy answers, but the most productive steps are the same ones that workers should take during a general economic slowdown. With uncertainty on the horizon, take the time to beef up your emergency fund and other savings accounts. Prepare for the future as if your job may not be secure and build a solid financial foundation. If possible, consider relocating to less-impacted states or to industries that are less likely to be affected by a continuing trade war. Lastly, work on upskilling yourself so that you become the most valuable worker in your company, or even in your industry. Even in the manufacturing world, plants aren't likely to suddenly close overnight, so keep an eye out for warning signs and try to leave yourself with options, be they with other employers, other industries or other locations.

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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: Industries Where Your Job Is Most Likely To Get Outsourced

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