Look to the future
"Sorry, Your Job's Been Outsourced!" (11/2/07) presents a misleading picture of employment in Wisconsin. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, there has been a net gain of 38,249 jobs in Wisconsin since January 2000. Yes, we have lost 95,300 manufacturing jobs, but we have gained 133,549 jobs in other areas, primarily in the information and service sectors.
This article focuses on the losses due to globalization, but it ignores the gains. Ask consumers if they appreciate inexpensive clothing, inexpensive electronics and relatively inexpensive automobiles with many deluxe features that did not exist 20 years ago.
The gains from globalization are widely dispersed while the losses tend to be narrowly concentrated in the manufacturing sector. Hence we read about the disadvantages of globalization but we never read about the gains to consumers.
In the long run, the U.S. cannot compete in labor-intensive industries given the abundance of labor in countries such as China and India. However, the U.S. can compete effectively in land-intensive and capital-intensive industries as we are a land-abundant and capital-abundant economy. Look at the growth in high tech industries and even agriculture. We can compete effectively there.
The key for Wisconsin is to identify the growth industries of the future and develop its workforce to be competitive in those industries. Bemoaning the loss of manufacturing jobs will not do us any good. We need to shift our focus to the future rather than dwell on the past.
Mary S. Schranz, Ph.D., Madison Area Technical College
I have another take on your jobs story: how difficult the Madison job market can be for a transplant.
I am a 41-year-old professional with a solid work history. I sold my house in La Crosse and set myself up to take a little time off and be picky about what I would accept for employment in Madison. I began calling on companies where I thought I'd like to work.
I applied, interviewed, mailed, called and corresponded for 10 months. I whittled away my nest egg and only received offers for insurance sales (not my expertise) or for low-paying hourly jobs.
Only recently did I receive an offer for a decent job with a chance for a future. Still, the carnage after 10 months: 160-plus job applications, 20-plus interviews, a stack of rejection letters and frazzled nerves. So after reading your article about outsourced jobs, I can relate. This market is totally oversaturated with candidates. Thank you for giving voice to my frustrations.