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Government Report Blames Few Layoffs On Offshore Outsourcing

A Labor Department report says 4,633 U.S. jobs were sent oversears in the first quarter, about 2% of all jobs lost, but the figures aren't comprehensive.
A Labor Department report showing that relatively few Americans lost jobs in massive layoffs to offshore companies during the first three months of the year doesn't offer enough specifics to address concerns that foreign IT outsourcing is hurting the domestic high-tech job market.

The report, issued Thursday, said only 4,633 U.S. workers laid off in the first quarter had their jobs taken by overseas workers. That represents about 2% of the 239,361 non-farm, business jobs felled by massive layoffs. The report did not specify how many of these jobs were IT positions. Most, however, were from manufacturing companies.

But this government report offers an incomplete picture of the loss of jobs to overseas companies. It counts only layoffs at companies employing 50 workers or more, where at least 50 people filed for unemployment benefits during a five-week period and were out of work for more than 30 days.

In the first quarter, 32 computer and electronic products manufacturers had massive layoffs, with 3,912 employees losing their jobs. Among those layoffs, seven involved companies that resulted in 785 jobs moving offshore. Another sector that includes some IT workers--professional and technical services--posted 31 massive layoffs last quarter, with 3,363 workers losing their jobs. However, the Labor Department couldn't determine if any of those jobs headed offshore because the data did not meet government disclosure standards.

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