Monday, March 15, 2004

Some Outsourcing Data You Won't See Get Much Play

The WSJ reports (link requires paid subscription) that more jobs are outsourced TO the U.S. than are outsourced FROM the U.S. Long story short, the U.S. has a net "inflow" of $53.6 billion outsourcing jobs ($131 billion sent to the U.S. for outsourcing work versus $77.4 billion outbound). In addition:

- The U.S. inbound (more jobs here) number is up $8.4 billion from 2002 to 2003.

- The U.S. outbound (exported jobs) is up $8 billion from 2002 to 2003.

So the increase in 2002 outsourcing from the U.S was more than matched by outsourcing to the U.S.

I don't think outsourcing jobs is a good thing, and I think some companies are doing it without looking at all the financial numbers or project issues (Dell has reversed some outsourcing as has some software companies). But the bottom line is outsourcing is the decision of companies, not the government. If you listen to politicians, you won't get the whole story. You'll hear sad stories about software people or call center people who lost their jobs, but you won't hear the fact that limiting outbound outsourcing will result in retaliatory measures from other countries that will hurt more Americans than it will help.

The people clamoring for outsourcing laws are of course the people most affected by it. And they have no compunction if more people lose their jobs, as long as they get in or stay in theirs. I am not blaming them - it's human nature. But if the job of the economy is to provide the most economic benefits to the most number of people, then laws limiting outsourcing are not the way to go.

No comments: