Where Have America’s Good-Paying Jobs Gone?


In September, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce with Senate Republicans killed the vote on Senate Bill 3816, a bill which would have ended tax breaks for companies that ship American jobs to foreign countries only to import foreign-made products back to the United States.

Since the early 80′s our nation’s good-paying jobs have been outsourced to foreign nations in a steady stream. Around 1983, manufacturing was the first industry to go. Nationally, the Council on Foreign Relation estimates that since 1983, two million manufacturing jobs have been moved offshore.

The loss of our nation’s manufacturing workforce in relationship to our economy was substantial  because for every manufacturing job impacted, three-to-four other ancillary jobs are also lost.

American workers have been betrayed. When outsourcing first started, Americans were told that our economy was changing from a manufacturing economy to a service-based economy and Americans were promised high-paying technology jobs.  Embracing the “new” economy, droves of Americans returned to school and attended training programs to become a part of the new job market.

At first, American workers prospered from higher-paying jobs. However, from 2001 to 2008, 26 percent of our nation’s technology jobs were outsourced to foreign countries. Ironically, American workers not only lost their jobs but were slapped in the face when foreign workers with H1-B visas were hired to fill some of the remaining jobs.

America has been losing good-paying jobs at an alarming rate. The McKinsey Global Institute estimates 30 to 40 percent of all white-collar jobs such as architects, research scientists, engineers, chemists, and product development, will be outsourced over the next five years.

Outsourcing is so prevalent that Mechanical Engineering magazine reports “companies like Caterpillar, Daimler, General Electric, General Motors, Honeywell, Siemens, Matsushita Electric, and IBM have all built massive engineering facilities offshore. Many companies also out source engineering to offshore vendors.”

Over 40% of our nation’s drugs are now imported, and up to 80% of the active pharmaceutical ingredients in drugs, particularly over-the-counter drugs, are manufactured in foreign countries.

America’s service economy is also being quickly dismantled in favor of inexpensive foreign labor. By 2015, over 3.3 million higher-paying “service” jobs like accounting and payroll processing will have left the country.

Americans should be angered because they lost good-paying American jobs, and American taxpayers unwittingly through federal foreign aid helped pay for the development of roads, utilities, and manufacturing plants in foreign countries competing for U.S. workers’ jobs.
tracy emblemAmericans must wake up to reality. As our American job market is stripped of its good-paying jobs and the nation’s wages deflated, Americans no longer have “buying power” which hurts our families and communities and produces a lower living standard.

Unfortunately, until Americans understand how our nation’s jobs have been hijacked to foreign countries, and Congress imposes fair trade policies which level the playing field for our nation’s workers, our jobs will not be coming home anytime soon.
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Published by the LA Progressive on November 9, 2010
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