Map Question: Employees in Steel Industry vs. Industry Employees Who Use Steel?


Here at TPOH, we have shared several posts on how the newly imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum are going to adversely affect the American economy. Simply put, tariffs are taxes, and taxes negatively affect economic output.

To further drive the point home, consider the number of American workers in the steel industry, and how many employees are in industries that use steel. Don't know? Thirty-eight times more workers use steel than work in the steel production.

Economics professor Mark Perry explains it visually. It's easy to see that a great number of American jobs rely upon steel, including steel imports.


Perry quotes a New York Times article showing that in one Mississippi town, the tariffs place the many steel-consuming jobs in jeopardy.

For every job in Tupelo producing steel or aluminum, there are 200 jobs in industries that consume them that could be put at risk as tariffs push up the prices of these metals, according to research from Jacob Whiton and Mark Muro of the Brookings Institution. This is true across the country (see maps). The lesson the White House has yet to figure out is that the tariffs meant to protect the businesses that make these metals will end up hamstringing the industries that rely on them.

Steel is a vital commodity in this economy. Does it really make sense to force higher prices on steel-consumer industries to "protect" a few jobs in the steel-production industry? Economically-speaking, the tradeoff is not worth it.