Wednesday, May 16, 2007

how to lied with statistics about globalization

In a Newsweek article, Robert Samuelson says that globalization has not hurt the U.S. much because some studies found that only a small percent of mass layoffs could be attributed to offshoring.
In 2004 and 2005, the BLS counted almost 1 million workers fired in layoffs of 50 or more. That isn't a huge number in a labor force of about 150 million. Moreover, most causes were domestic. The largest reason (accounting for about 25 percent) was "contract completion"—a public works job done, a movie finished. Other big categories included "downsizing" (16 percent) and the combination of bankruptcy and "financial difficulty" (10 percent). Only about 12 percent of layoffs stemmed from "movement of work"—a category that would include offshoring. But two-thirds of those moves were domestic.

What about the "downsizing" category? Ignored was Why the company was downsizing. Maybe because some of the jobs were outsourced to other countries?

He also totally ignores the number of jobs lost to citizens because of the importation of workers through H1-B and L-1 visas.

And of course, he points to low official unemployment statistics :
Still, with the unemployment rate at 4.5 percent, it's clear that globalization hasn't crippled the U.S. job machine.

Of course, this doesn't take into effect cases like a person who has been a computer programmer for 25 or 30 years is working at a low-skilled job, or borrowed money to get a graduate degree, because they can't get a job in their field. Getting a degree in middle-age, certainly in late middle-age, is likely to result only in a higher debt load. Also, the baby boomers who can afford to, and want to, are starting to retire.

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