US companies have succeeded in creating a large number of new jobs, but figures show that many of them are overseas.
Unemployment in the US has remained stubbornly high since the end of 2008. The country's government has made job creation its top priority and recently president Barack Obama met with a number of the country’s leading chief executives to discuss the best ways to get people back to work.
The president urged the companies to use their cash reserves, which have been estimated at $2000bn, to hire more staff. The message appears to have been heeded, but the hiring spree has not been aimed at the domestic market.
Washington, DC-based think tank the Economic Policy Institute estimates that US companies created 1.4 million jobs overseas in 2010, compared with fewer than 1 million in the US in the same year.
Economists have also pointed out that not only are highly skilled jobs in electronics and semi-conductors moving internationally, but the products being made by US companies overseas are being exported to emerging economies such as Brazil, India and China instead of being sent back home.
Data from greenfield investment monitor fDi Markets shows a number of US companies, such as Caterpillar and DuPont, that are particularly active in hiring outside the country.
Science company DuPont in particular now sells less than one-third of its products in the US and saw its sales in the Asia-Pacific region grow by 50% between January and September 2010, three times the rate of its growth in the US. DuPont also cut its staffing levels in the US by 9% between January 2005 and October 2009, while at the same time increasing its workforce in the Asia-Pacific region by 54%.
fDi Markets reports that DuPont expanded a research and development facility in Shanghai, China, last year, a move that will create 200 new science and technology-oriented jobs. The company has also established a new laboratory in Brazil that will create a similar number of new roles.
Manufacturer Caterpillar was also active in creating foreign jobs, setting up two new plants in China in an investment of more than $300m.
Evidence also suggests that this pattern of hiring abroad is spreading to smaller and start-up companies in the US as well, such as web-based firm vast.com, which has started operations in Serbia and the Dominican Republic.