Seen this report before but the numbers are still shocking. One source of misconception, which the author did not cite, is that China made a big number of low value items instead of big ticket items like housing and energy.
“Goods and services from China accounted for only 2.7% of U.S. personal consumption expenditures in 2010, of which less than half reflected the actual costs of Chinese imports. The rest went to U.S. businesses and workers transporting, selling, and marketing goods carrying the “Made in China” label. Although the fraction is higher when the imported content of goods made in the United States is considered, Chinese imports still make up only a small share of total U.S. consumer spending.”
Perhaps a reason for believing China’s share of the US consumer market is how often we see the Made in China label. They dominate the toys, clothing and electronics that get sold in stores like Wal-Mart and Target and Toys-R-Us.
“A common rebuttal I got was, “How can it only be 2.7% when almost everything in Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT ) is made in China?” Because Wal-Mart’s $260 billion in U.S. revenue isn’t exactly reflective of America’s $14.5 trillion economy.
Housel noted that in 2010, “we spent 34% of their income on housing, 13% on food, 11% on insurance and pensions, 7% on health care, and 2% on education. Those categories alone make up nearly 70% of total spending, and are comprised almost entirely of American-made goods and services.”