Some Outsourced Jobs Are Coming Back

He added that in the U.S., Monster will be able to train employees to provide more extensive assistance, such as helping employers design ads that will attract more applications.

Jobs From Abroad

While there isn't data available on the numbers of jobs created by U.S. companies that backtrack on outsourcing, the U.S. Commerce Department reported that, between 2003 and 2007, foreign investment created 447,000 new American jobs.

Michael Corbett, the founder of the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals, said that moves by foreign companies to increase their payrolls in the U.S. and elsewhere is just a part of doing business today.

"The key thing is that companies of all kinds are operating globally and that means they need to have talent located in countries all around the world," he said.

The federal government began a new push to attract foreign companies to the U.S. last year with its Invest in America program. Through the program, U.S. officials reach out to foreign companies interested in U.S. investments and help guide them through Washington's "alphabet soup" of agencies, like the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) and the FDA (Food and Drug Agency).

David Bohigian, assistant secretary of commerce for market access and compliance, said that despite the economic downturn, the United States remains an attractive place for companies to invest, thanks in part to its stable government, its talent pool and the transparency with which the U.S. economy operates.

For companies that ship products to the U.S., today's higher fuel and transportation costs provide an extra incentive too, he said.

"When you look at global energy prices, to be able to produce close to your consumers is a key competitive advantage," he said.

But not everyone is sold on the benefits of foreign investment, especially when it comes to job creation.

Alan Tonelson, research fellow at the U.S. Business and Industry Council, a manufacturing trade group, said that most foreign investment comes in the form of foreign companies acquiring existing U.S. companies. That, he said, does not create new jobs and sometimes results in the elimination of jobs.

"It's widely recognized among business experts that when companies join together in some fashion, whether it's an out-and-out takeover or a genuine merger, they're after greater efficiencies," he said. "They want to consolidate and usually that means they fire workers."

Insourcing Obstacles

Tonelson also questions whether "insourcing" by American companies is truly on the rise.

"We have no hard figures. We've got anecdotal evidence," he said. "If we look at the same subject in five years, we may indeed see that it's grown to meaningful proportions. We also may see that it was a flash in the pan to the extent that it ever existed. We simply don't have enough information."

Koulopoulos, who is the head of Delphi Group, a business and technology consulting company, argued that while insourcing is happening, it doesn't always happen easily because of the challenges some businesses face in finding qualified Americans willing to take the newly returned jobs.

Koulopoulos said that Americans were turned off to careers in computer programming and engineering after so many had been moved overseas.

"People don't want to follow that career path because their sense is there won't be jobs for them," he said.

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