Related BLS programs | Related articles
December 2008, Vol. 131, No. 12
Service-providing occupations, offshoring, and the labor market
Roger J. Moncarz, Michael G. Wolf, and Benjamin Wright
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) researches trends affecting the labor market as part of its Employment Projections Program. Although the BLS examines all factors affecting employment in industries and occupations, it pays particular attention to new or emerging topics. One such topic is the offshoring of service-providing occupations.1 In recent years, special efforts have been made to identify the occupations that may be susceptible to offshoring and to account for offshoring in occupational employment projections. This article, representing the culmination of those efforts, identifies 160 occupations considered susceptible to offshoring and reports trends in historical and projected data for those occupations.
For most of recorded history, the majority of goods and services were produced and consumed locally. Developments in transportation—most notably, the locomotive and steamship and, later, the airplane and truck—made the large-scale remote production of goods practical. The result was a rapid increase in the trade of goods, causing manufacturers to face competition from abroad. Recent advances in telecommunications—in particular, the Internet—have enabled information to travel around the globe nearly instantaneously. Consequently, many services that previously needed to be performed domestically now theoretically can be performed anywhere in the world. The movement of work that results from this development, generally termed “offshoring,” has the potential to affect U.S. employment, but the nature and scale of its impact remain unclear.
This excerpt is from an article published in the December 2008 issue of the Monthly Labor Review. The full text of the article is available in Adobe Acrobat's Portable Document Format (PDF). See How to view a PDF file for more information.
Read abstract Download full article in PDF (153K)
1 In this article, service-providing occupations refers to occupations in Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) major groups 11 through 43, 49, and 53. It does not denote the SOC intermediate aggregation service occupations, which cover only major groups 31 through 39. (See table 1.)
Related BLS programs
Occupational Employment Statistics
Within Monthly Labor Review Online:
Welcome | Current Issue | Index | Subscribe | Archives
Exit Monthly Labor Review Online:
BLS Home | Publications & Research Papers