Morning Business Memo…
Anyone who has spoken with a customer service rep in India or an IT help-desk person in the Philippines knows that huge numbers of American back office jobs have been shipped overseas. New research by The Hackett Group says the trend is far from over. "Large companies in North America and Europe are now losing over 250,000 jobs each year in IT, finance, and other key business services areas," says the research. The report estimates that by 2017 half of all back office IT, Human Resources and Finance jobs in big companies that existed a recently as 2002 will have disappeared - a loss over well over 3.5 million jobs. "Even this assessment could be optimistic, as it factors in job creation due to economic growth," says Hackett. Technology, competition and globalism are driving the changes.
It was five years ago this weekend. The momentous collapse of Lehman Brothers sparked fear and panic on financial markets. The crisis led to the worst recession in 80 years. Many businesses are still dealing with the fallout. America's largest bank, JP Morgan Chase, plans to spend an additional $4 billion and commit 5,000 extra employees this year to clean up its risk and compliance problems, according to The Wall Street Journal. "As part of a companywide effort, the bank is spending an additional $1.5 billion on managing risk and complying with regulations, including a 30 percent increase in risk-control staffing," sources told The Journal.
The economy and U.S. households are still recovering from the near-meltdown of 2008. "Five years ago the markets plunged into an Alice-In-Wonderland world," writes well-known columnist Gillian Tett in today's Financial Times. What's happened since? "The system is just as insane," argues Tett. And while many financial experts would quarrel with this conclusion, several points she makes are hard to argue against. The big banks are bigger, despite outrage over the role they played in the crisis. Shadow banking is more active, not less. The rich are richer, and the system depends more than ever on faith in central banks. Attempts at reform in the U.S. and Europe continue.
The rumors persist on who will be the head of the Fed. Japan's Nikkei newspaper says Former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers will be named the next chairman of the Federal Reserve by President Obama. On Thursday more than 350 economists signed a letter to President Obama calling on him to nominate Federal Reserve Vice Chair Janet Yellen to be the next chairman.
California is set to raise the state's minimum wage to $10 an hour in three years making it one of the highest rates in the country. The state Senate and Assembly both approved the bill.
A heath care fraud alert is being sounded by many state officials as they set up new insurance marketplaces. Consumers are being warned about fake sites. New health care exchanges open for business next month. Many more people will be eligible for coverage. But states are on the lookout for health scams "Fraudsters love any kind of big headline news, any big kind of innovation people are talking about," says Emily Peters of Patient Fusion, The biggest warning sign of scams? "They're going to ask you to wire transfer money through something like Western Union or MoneyGram. No legitimate company is ever going to ask you to wire transfer money."
Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC News Radio abcnews.com Twitter: daviesnow