In the chart, output growth is measured by the change in the average level of output for the year compared to the average level of output in the previous year. Import growth is measured by the total volume of manufactured goods (capital goods, industrial supplies and materials, automotive vehicles, engines, and parts, and durable and non‐durable consumer goods) imported in that year compared to the volume imported the previous year. The chart illustrates that the more we import, the more we make ourselves; the more we make, the more we import. Essentially, years fall into one of two categories: high‐import, high‐output years, or low‐import, low‐output years. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, as the U.S. economy slowed, the growth of both manufacturing imports and output slowed. As the expansion of the 1990s gained steam, growth of imports and output accelerated. Then the recession of 2001 and the slow recovery in 2002 saw imports and output slide down the scale together. If the trade critics were right, the recent plunge in import growth should have stimulated an increase in domestic output as U.S. factories sought to fill the gap left by the missing imports. According to the EPI model, in other words, the relation should be negative and the trend line should slope downward and not upward. Once again, reality intrudes on the protectionist story. There is no basis, in theory or experience, for the persistent allegation that trade deficits, and more specifically imports, mean fewer jobs in the U.S. economy. The reality is more nearly the opposite. As a reflection of continued domestic demand and the desire of foreign investors to acquire U.S. assets, large trade deficits are typically associated with more output and more jobs. In America today, trade and prosperity are a package deal. The more we trade, the more we prosper, and the more we prosper, the more we trade. By seeking to curb imports of manufactured goods, opponents of trade will only undermine the ability of the U.S. economy to expand output and create jobs.
 U.S. Bureau of the Census, “U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services: December 2002,” Report Text, February 20, 2003, p. 3, www.census.gov/indicator/www/ustrade.html.
 Robert E. Scott, “Fast Track to Lost Jobs: Trade Deficits and Manufacturing Decline are the Legacies of NAFTA and the WTO,” Briefing Paper, Economic Policy Institute, October 2001, p. 2. Ibid., p. 1. Total civilian employment rose from 123.1 million in 1994 to 135.2 million in 2000. Council of Economic Advisers (CEA), Economic Report of the President 2003 (Washington: Government Printing Office, February 2003), Table B-36, p. 320. Ibid., Table B-42, p. 326. The Federal Reserve Board’s index of U.S. manufacturing output rose from 83.7 in 1994 to 117.4 in 2000. Ibid., Table B-51, p. 336. Real imports of manufactured goods increased from $541.6 billion in 1994 to $1,105.7 billion in 2000. U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), “National Income and Product Account Tables,” Table 4.4. Real Exports and Imports of Goods and Services by Type of Products [Billions of chained (1996) dollars], Revised January 30, 2003, www.bea.doc.gov/bea/dn/nipaweb/SS_Data/Section4All_xls.xls. CEA, Table B-51, p. 336. BEA, Table 4.4.