Many workers and union leaders blame trade agreements such as NAFTA for declining employment in U.S. production. The U.S. auto sector has lost about 350,000 jobs – one-third of the industry – since 1994, while employment in Mexico`s auto sector has grown from 120,000 to 550,000. The three NAFTA countries have developed a new collaborative business classification system that compares business statistics across North America. The North American Industry Classification System organizes and separates industries according to their production processes. NAFTA is often held responsible for things that could not be its fault. In 1999, the Christian Science Monitor wrote about a town in Arkansas that it would “collapse, like so many NAFTA ghost towns that have lost jobs in the needle trade and in production in places like Sri Lanka or Honduras.” Sri Lanka and Honduras are not parties to the agreement. NAFTA has had mixed results. It turned out that it was not the magic bullet imagined by his supporters, nor the devastating blow that his detractors had predicted. Mexico has seen a dramatic increase in exports from about $60 billion in 1994 to nearly $400 billion in 2013. The increase in exports has also resulted in an explosion in imports, resulting in an influx of better quality and cheaper goods for Mexican consumers. It is clear that NAFTA continues to improve political views on globalization and free trade in general.
Opposition to NAFTA has intensified, making it much more politically difficult to adopt other similar free trade agreements. This became clear in the summer of 2005, when the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) stopped in Congress because of a lack of support. Two journalists, Dawn Gilbertson and Jonathan J. Higuera, who wrote in the Arizona Republic on the tenth anniversary of NAFTA, summed it up this way: “The reality of NAFTA at 10 years old is this: a story of winners and losers, divided largely by the workplace and what we do.” The same goes for the impact of NAFTA on small businesses.