Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) suggest fears over American jobs being outsourced overseas may be overblown.
In 2012, just 2,687 jobs were listed as “out-of-country relocations,” the BLS’s official designation for outsourced jobs. That works out to roughly one out of every 50,000 American jobs being shipped overseas.
“Few companies take U.S. jobs overseas, yet this is the most overstated economic fear,” said Mackinac Center for Public Policy fiscal analyst James Hohman. “Most jobs are gained and lost due to regular turnover; only a microscopic fraction is lost due to plants relocating abroad. This means that improving the economy requires improving the business climate for everyone.”
BLS researcher Nicholas Aakre says the government’s figures do not capture every outsourced job.
Still, the outsourcing trend appears to be on the downslope. In 2004, 16,197 jobs went overseas; in 2011, the figure was down to just 3,826.
“I think [outsourcing] is just blown out of proportion,” says University of California-Berkeley economist Don Byrne.