Trumbull ranks high in wages lost to imports

WARREN – The number of Trumbull County workers seeking help after being displaced by competition from foreign imports is the second highest among all 88 Ohio counties, according to a report released Thursday by U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown.

Between 1994 and 2011, 2,860 Trumbull County workers, most in manufacturing, were certified to receive Trade Adjustment Assistance, or TAA, a federal program that provides aid to workers who lost wages directly due to foreign competition. That number is second only to Cuyahoga County, where 4,193 workers were certified for the TAA program.

Mahoning County ranked 29th with 401; Ashtabula ranked 45th with 214; Portage ranked 23rd with 480; and Geauga County ranked 48th with 191. Statewide, 42,664 workers were certified for the program over the time period. Brown’s office compiled the report using data from Public Citizen Trade Adjustment Assistance, Policy Matters Ohio and the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

Records provided by Ohio JFS indicate that, of the 34 companies with workers potentially filing petitions for TAA assistance between 2004 and 2012 the only years with data immediately available, 22 were in the manufacturing sector; eight were in automotive; and four were in the service sector.

Some of those Trumbull County petitions for the TAA came from Wheatland Tube in Warren in 2005; Amweld Building Products in 2007; General Electric Niles Glass Plant in 2008; Indalex Aluminum Solutions in 2008; Wetzel Molded Plastics in 2008; General Motors Lordstown Complex in 2009; Thomas Steel Strip in 2009; General Electric Ohio Lamp Plant in 2009; Severstal Warren in 2009; Delphi in both 2005 and again in 2009; Leedsworld in 2009; Denman Tire Corp. in 2010; GE Mahoning Glass Plant in 2010; and several others.

Using the report to help demonstrate the local effect of a widening trade deficit, Brown on Thursday announced plans to introduce a bill that would change the way currency exchange is monitored and provide consequences for countries that fail to adopt policies to eliminate currency misalignment.

“As our trade deficit continues to widen, our need to level the playing field for American manufacturers and workers becomes more urgent,” Brown said. “Yet instead of taking action, we’re pursuing trade deals with countries that manipulate currencies. American workers and manufacturers are the most competitive in the world. But when countries like China cheat by manipulating currency, that’s not competing. It’s cheating.”

blinert@tribtoday.com