Trade Adjustment Assistance: Industry Certification Would Likely Make More Workers Eligible, but Design and Implementation Challenges Exist
Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) is the nation's primary program providing job training and other assistance to manufacturing workers who lose their jobs due to international trade. For workers to receive TAA benefits, the Department of Labor (Labor) must certify that workers in a particular layoff have lost their jobs due to trade. Congress is considering allowing entire industries to be certified to facilitate access to assistance. GAO was asked to examine (1) trends in the current certification process, (2) the extent to which the proposed industry certification approach based on three petitions certified in 180 days would increase eligibility and identify potential challenges with this approach, and (3) the extent to which an approach based on trade remedies would increase eligibility and identify potential challenges. To address these questions, GAO analyzed data on TAA petitions, mass layoffs, trade, production, and trade remedies. GAO also interviewed Labor and ITC officials. GAO is not making recommendations at this time. Labor reviewed the report and did not provide comments. The ITC provided technical comments that have been incorporated as appropriate.