Where the jobs at?
U.S. multinational corporations were actually hiring in 2011 as they were in 2010. Unfortunately as in 2010, they are hiring abroad. In an updated BEA summary on sales, investment and employment by Multinational Corporations for 2011, we have a 0.1% increase in hiring for jobs in the United States while MNCs increased their hiring abroad by 4.4%. Graphed below are multinational corporation employees residing in the United States, scale on the left, against multinational corporation employees located abroad, scale on the right. As we can see multinational corporations are clearly reduced their staff in the U.S. while increasing it in foreign nations. In other words, multinational corporations are not just offshore outsourcing to external, 3rd parties, but also offshore outsourcing American jobs directly.
Two things I think are overlooked.
First, as Dean Baker constantly points out, the dollar is overvalued – and that is a deliberate policy of our government in order to hurt labor, but help companies like Walmart. We could change this tomorrow and bring back millions of jobs – in fact, the only way we will see full employment again is if we allow the dollar to readjust to a proper level, or we engage in another asset bubble (how’d that work out?).
Second, when the North had to compete with the South’s use of slave labor, was the North the more economically advanced economy or was the South? Even though we are competing with other countries who have no problem using (near) slave labor, there is no reason we can’t be competitive in other industries. (And while German manufacturing workers get paid more but are less productive than American workers (!) we don’t hear a peep about how German unemployment or German outsourcing is a problem.)
We shouldn’t be sewing clothes here. But there are other areas we have a comparative advantage – and if the dollar was competitive, we’d be employing the millions of unemployed in these areas.