Study finds nearly 9 million U.S. jobs depend on trade and investment with Canada

Peter Dixon and Maureen Rimmer at the Wilson Center, December 2014.

In December, the Embassy of Canada in Washington, D.C. and the Canada program at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars co-hosted a lunch time discussion with economists Peter Dixon and Maureen T. Rimmer. Speaking to a group of economists and think tank scholars from the Washington DC-based Trade Policy Experts Group, Dixon and Rimmer presented their economic model that can determine the number of U.S. jobs supported by trade and investment with Canada. David Biette from the Wilson Center moderated the event.

Dixon and Rimmer are academics at the Centre of Policy Studies, Victoria University in Australia. The Centre, a world-renown economic research unit, has created large scale economic models for more than 25 countries, including a number of U.S. and Canadian government agencies.

The Embassy of Canada asked Dixon to update a 2012 study. The 2014 study was expanded to include the number of jobs dependent on trade and investment in each congressional district as well as jobs by industry. Findings were updated and are based on 2013 economic data. Using trade data from the U.S. Bureau of the Census, the model assumes that all trade between the U.S. and Canada ceases, and calculates the jobs that would be lost across 533 industries in that scenario. Investment numbers were based on U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis data.

Major findings of the study:

  • Nearly 9 million U.S. jobs depend on trade and investment with Canada
  • U.S/Canada trade is responsible for about $1 trillion of the United States’ G.D.P.
  • U.S.–Canada trade creates employment in every state and congressional district
  • The number of state jobs supported by trade and investment with Canada ranges from 21,300 (Alaska) to 1.2 million (California)
  • The number of jobs in congressional districts supported by trade and investment with Canada ranges from 5,000 (TX-09) to 43,500 (NY-12).
  • Canadian-owned businesses in the United States employ over half a million Americans

The study (PDF, English only) is available at The Centre for Policy Studies, Victoria University.

Upon completion of his presentation, Professor Dixon took questions from his colleagues – on the impact of resource industries and innovation, impact on third country markets and adapting the model to further test state-level trade with Canada. Kent Hughes, Public Policy Scholar at the Wilson Center wondered whether the model could be adapted to determine the impact of trade at a socio-economic level. Dixon responded that such results may be possible in a future iteration. A cogent discussion was enjoyed by all.