The benefits of globalization have been much-hyped by Wall Street, Washington think-tanks, newspaper columnists and the like. The reality is somewhat more…complex. David Wessel of The Wall Street Journal reports:
U.S. multinational corporations, the big brand-name companies that employ a fifth of all American workers, have been hiring abroad while cutting back at home, sharpening the debate over globalization’s effect on the U.S. economy.
The companies cut their work forces in the U.S. by 2.9 million during the 2000s while increasing employment overseas by 2.4 million, new data from the U.S. Commerce Department show. That’s a big switch from the 1990s, when they added jobs everywhere: 4.4 million in the U.S. and 2.7 million abroad.
In all, U.S. multinationals employed 21.1 million people at home in 2009 and 10.3 million elsewhere, including increasing numbers of higher-skilled foreign workers.
Neither political party wants to talk about this, since both parties get major institutional fund-raising support from US-based multi-nationals, their PACs, their managements and employees. So the issue is unlikely to get much “play” in the 2012 election. But if the employment trend (hire abroad, fire at home) continues, it will become a major political issue.
Mr. Wessel’s full article can be read by clicking here.