Economists say that free trade generally promotes U.S. economic growth and a higher standard of living. In addition, proponents of free trade say, the U.S. job losses will be overcome as businesses and workers shift into more profitable industries.
But here in Catawba County, the high unemployment rate has dampened confidence in such notions.
“The people in the think tanks keep saying we are going to become — what’s the term? — an ‘information and services’ economy,” said Allan Mackie, manager of the North Carolina Employment Security Commission office. “That doesn’t seem to be working out too good.”