'Made in China' Goods Only Small Sliver of U.S. Consumption

Only 2.7 percent of what U.S. consumers buy is Chinese made

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Politicians and pundits talk often talk of the undue sway Chinese businesses have over American consumers without the hard numbers to back up claims. So Galina Hale and Bart Hobijn, two economists from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, have stepped in to do the mathematical heavy-lifting. What they've found is that only 2.7 percent of U.S. consumers purchases have the "Made in China" label.

"Although globalization is widely recognized these days, the U.S. economy actually remains relatively closed," the authors write in a recent report. 88.5 percent of Americans' consumer spending is on things made in the U.S. In the U.S. market, China only had the edge over domestic businesses in the nondurable goods category that includes clothing and shoes. It also, unsurprisingly, does well in the U.S. in the groups of goods that include electronics and household appliances.

But China doesn't come that close in any other category. Even of the 2.7 percent of "Made in China" goods, only 1.2 percent represents "China-produced content," the authors write. (That's the "Final goods imported from China" category in the chart above.) The rest goes into things like American design and assembly and transocean transport. Just something to remember next try time you hear someone cursing a "Made in China" label.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.