Tuesday, November 22, 2011

American Multi-nationals Moved 1.5 Million US Jobs to India and China

American corporations created 453,000 jobs in India, a whopping 642% increase in a decade that saw the same corporations cut 846,000 jobs at home.

Overall, US multinational corporations added 1.5 million workers to their payrolls in Asia and the Pacific region from 1999 to 2009, and 477,500 workers in Latin America, according to US Commerce Dept data as reported by the Wall Street Journal.

From 1999 to 2009, the multinational companies also reduced capital-investment spending in the U.S. at an annual rate of 0.2% and increased it at a 4.0% annual rate abroad. This occurred in spite of huge Bush era tax cuts for the rich.



Bulk of the increase in overseas investment and hiring by U.S. multinationals has been in the service sector where most of the American middle class jobs have been lost. Among U.S. multinational firms in manufacturing, about 60% of employment is still in the U.S. But the manufacturers cut their U.S. payrolls by 2.1 million in the 2000s and added 230,000 workers overseas.



While the U.S. multinational manufacturers employ 6.9 million workers in the U.S. and 4.6 million abroad as of 2009, the trend clearly indicates the balance shifting in favor of overseas jobs at the expense of jobs in America.

The irony of it is that the vast majority of average citizens of nations like India where jobs have been created by American corporations have not benefited either. After the decade of job creation by US multi-nationals, India still remains home to the world's largest population of poor, hungry and illiterates. Bulk of the benefits of globalization have gone to a few dozen powerful Indian oligarchs in "the world's largest democracy".

Looking at this jobs data, it's clear to me that the foolish and short-sighted actions of the American MNCs are undermining the very system that has nurtured and enriched them by creating middle class American consumers and voters whose jobs they are killing.

It's the middle class America that has supported the system of American democracy and free markets; destroying middle class America by taking their jobs overseas will only lead to rising instability that will threaten the very foundations of this system....the growing "Occupy" movement across major American cities and university campuses is only the tip of the iceberg of rising discontent.

It's time to save democracy and capitalism from the American capitalists!

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Will American Capitalism Survive?

Imran Khan Inspired by Iqbal

Occupy Wall Street Anti-Semitic?

India-World's Biggest Oligarchy

Comparing Oligarchies in India and Pakistan

Pakistan Tops South Asia Job Growth in 2000-2010

India is Home to World's Largest Population of Poor, Hungry & Illiterates

4 comments:

Riaz Haq said...

Goldman Sachs' Jim O'Neill, who coined BRIC, says India's performance most disappointing, according to Economic Times:

LONDON: Growth in all four BRIC economies has surpassed expectations in the decade since the term came into existence but India's record on productivity, FDI and reform has been the most disappointing, the chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management Jim O'Neill said on Tuesday.

O'Neill, who coined the term, BRIC, in December 2001 to jointly describe the four biggest developing economies, Brazil, Russia, India and China, was speaking at the London leg of the Reuters 2012 Investment Outlook Summit.

"All four countries have become bigger (economies) than I said they were going to be, even Russia. However there are important structural issues about all four and as we go into the 10-year anniversary, in some ways India is the most disappointing," said O'Neill who oversees almost a trillion dollars in assets at Goldman.

Just this week, India's government caved in to opposition pressure and put on hold a landmark reform of the retail sector that was seen opening the doors to billions of dollars in foreign direct investment in the supermarket sector.

The long-awaited measure, passed earlier this month, had been hailed as ending the government's economic reform paralysis that is widely seen as the root cause of high inflation, shrinking capital inflows and a wider current account deficit.

"India has the risk of ... if they're not careful, a balance of payments crisis. They shouldn't raise people's hopes of FDI and then in a week say, 'we're only joking'," O'Neill said. "India's inability to raise its share of global FDI is very disappointing," he said.

United Nations data shows that India received less than $20 billion in FDI in the first six months of 2011, compared to more than $60 billion in China while Brazil and Russia took in $23 billion and $33 billion respectively.

The glacial reform pace has hit India's hopes for double-digit economic growth, O'Neill said, adding: "India is as bad as Russia is on governance and corruption and, in terms of use of technology, Russia is in fact much higher than India."

On the other BRICs, O'Neill said Brazil's main problem was an overvalued currency which puts the country in danger of "Dutch disease" - a term first used to describe how North Sea oil discoveries in the 1960s triggered a surge in Dutch energy exports but also in the Dutch currency, pummelling much of the country's manufacturing. China's challenge was to effectively manage a transition to a higher-consumption economy with slower growth, he said.

O'Neill remains positive on Russia but said much depends on what Prime Minister Vladimir Putin can deliver in terms of reform following an election at the weekend that left his ruling party with a much reduced parliamentary majority.


http://m.economictimes.com/news/economy/foreign-trade/india-most-disappointing-among-bric-nations-goldmans-oneill/articleshow/11008228.cms

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a summary of Call Center bill intriduced in the US Congress, as published by Huffington Post:

Saying they hope to stem the tide of jobs heading overseas, legislators introduced a bipartisan bill Wednesday in the House that would punish American corporations for offshoring their telephone call centers, making such companies ineligible for grants or guaranteed loans from the federal government.

Introduced by Rep. Tim Bishop (D-N.Y.) and Rep. David McKinley (R-W.Va.), the protectionist legislation would also put some aggressive mandates on call-center operations. Not only would customer service representatives working overseas for U.S. corporations have to disclose their locations upon request, they would also have to offer callers the option of being transferred to call centers back in America.

"Outsourcing is one of the scourges of our economy and one of the reasons we are struggling to knock down the unemployment rate and reduce the number of Americans who are out of work," Bishop said in a conference call with reporters. "We can't prohibit it, but we can certainly discourage it."

Although some call-center jobs have trickled back into the U.S. in recent years, the long-term trend has shown thousands of American-based customer service positions being outsourced to India and the Philippines, where workers come considerably cheaper. The Philippines' call-center industry recently surpassed India's as the largest in the world, according to a report in USA Today.

The call-center bill has strong backing from the Communications Workers of America, a union representing 700,000 workers, more than 150,000 of whom are customer service reps. Ron Collins, CWA's chief of staff, said that Americans have been losing decent-paying call-center jobs so that large corporations can save on labor costs. He praised AT&T for its decision to bring 5,000 customer service jobs back to the U.S. as part of its merger with T-Mobile.

"When I talk about this, I talk about it from experience," said Collins, a former Verizon call-center worker. "This bill is a very important step forward -- for jobs, for workers and for customers."


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/07/overseas-call-centers-outsourcing-bill_n_1135147.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000008

Riaz Haq said...

Are robots competing with manufacturing workers at home and abroad? Here's CBS 60 Minutes on it:

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Andrew McAfee: Our economy is bigger than it was before the start of the Great Recession. Corporate profits are back. Business investment in hardware and software is back higher than it's ever been. What's not back is the jobs.

Steve Kroft: And you think technology and increased automation is a factor in that?

Erik Brynjolfsson: Absolutely.

The percentage of Americans with jobs is at a 20-year low. Just a few years ago if you traveled by air you would have interacted with a human ticket agent. Today, those jobs are being replaced by robotic kiosks. Bank tellers have given way to ATMs, sales clerks are surrendering to e-commerce and switchboard operators and secretaries to voice recognition technology.

Erik Brynjolfsson: There are lots of examples of routine, middle-skilled jobs that involve relatively structured tasks and those are the jobs that are being eliminated the fastest. Those kinds of jobs are easier for our friends in the artificial intelligence community to design robots to handle them. They could be software robots, they could be physical robots.

Steve Kroft: What is there out there that people would be surprised to learn about? In the robotics area, let's say.

Andrew McAfee: There are heavily automated warehouses where there are either very few or no people around. That absolutely took me by surprise.

It's on display at this huge distribution center in Devens, Mass., where roughly 100 employees work alongside 69 robots that do all the heavy lifting and navigate a warehouse maze the size of two football fields -- moving 10,000 pieces of merchandise a day from storage shelf to shipping point faster and more efficiently than human workers ever could.
..
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Erik Brynjolfsson: IBM's deep QA system that plays "Jeopardy," we had a contest here that played against our best MIT students, the best Harvard students we could put it up against. And not surprisingly, Watson won. And it's being used in real practical applications now on Wall Street and in call centers. Siri -- millions of people are using that every day.

Andrew McAfee: The fact that computers can now understand and respond to human speech, the fact that they can actually generate prose of decent quality, they can drive cars, they can win at Jeopardy. We're seeing technology demonstrate skills that it's never, ever done before.
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Rodney Brooks: If you're using robots to compete with a simple task that a low-paid worker does in a foreign country you can bring it back here and do that task here.

Steve Kroft: Baxter costs 22 grand?

Rodney Brooks: Yep.

Steve Kroft: How long does he last?

Rodney Brooks: It lasts three years.

Steve Kroft: Three years?

Rodney Brooks: So you can think that as 6,500 hours.

Steve Kroft: I think it works out to about $3.40 an hour?

Rodney Brooks: About that yeah.

Steve Kroft: $3.40, that's probably the wages of the Chinese worker, right?

Rodney Brooks: It's just about right there now....



http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18560_162-57563618/are-robots-hurting-job-growth/

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an NPR report on the abuse of H1b visas:

If you scroll through the government's visa data, you notice something surprising. The biggest employer of foreign tech workers is not Microsoft — not by a long shot. Nor is it Google, Facebook or any other name-brand tech company. The biggest users of H-1Bs are consulting companies, or as Ron Hira calls them, "offshore-outsourcing firms."

"The top 10 recipients in [the] last fiscal year were all offshore-outsourcers. And they got 40,000 of the 85,000 visas — which is astonishing," he says.

Hira's a professor of public policy at the Rochester Institute of Technology. He's also the son of Indian immigrants and has a personal interest in questions of labor flow across borders.

For the past decade, he's been studying how consulting firms use temporary work visas to help American companies cut costs. He says they use the visas to supply cheaper workers here, but also to smooth the transfer of American jobs to information-technology centers overseas.

"What these firms have done is exploit the loopholes in the H-1B program to bring in on-site workers to learn the jobs [of] the Americans to then ship it back offshore," he says. "And also to bring in on-site workers who are cheaper on the H-1B and undercut American workers right here."

The biggest user of H-1B last year was Cognizant, a firm based in New Jersey. The company got 9,000 new visas. Following close behind were Infosys, Wipro and Tata ‑‑ all Indian firms. They're not household names, but they loom large in tech places like the Seattle suburbs.

Cutting Costs

Rennie Sawade, a software designer with 30 years of experience, grew up in Michigan — watching the decline of the auto industry. And so, he went into computers in search of a more secure career. But that's not how it turned out.

"Basically, what I see is, it's happening all over again," Sawade says.

Programmers like him tend to be freelancers, or contract workers, and the big consulting firms are the competition. Sawade remembers when he almost landed a plum job at Microsoft.

"I remember having phone interviews and talking with the manager, having him sound really excited about my experience and he was going to bring me in to meet the team," Sawade recalls.

And then: nothing. He called his own placement agency to find out what happened.

"And that's when they told me, 'Oh, they hired somebody from Tata Consultancy.' And they actually told me on the phone, the woman I was talking to said her jaw just dropped when they found out how little Microsoft was paying this person from Tata Consultancy to do this job," he says.


http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered/2013/04/03/176134694/Whos-Hiring-H1-B-Visa-Workers-Its-Not-Who-You-Might-Think