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One of the most contentious debates over recent months has been the degree to which outsourcing is responsible for some of our current labor market woes. Given the potential impact of outsourcing on the domestic and global economies, over the coming months the Center for American Progress will seek to better define the problem, understand the underlying implications of outsourcing, and frame some practical solutions.

Despite numerous efforts, both public and private sector agencies have yet to determine a clear, accurate measure of how many U.S. jobs are being lost to outsourcing, or how many might be lost in the future. As a first step in an ongoing series the Center for American Progress will be doing on outsourcing, we want to provide a short table from a variety of sources and reports to compare job loss estimates and projections due to outsourcing. The disparity in the numbers shows the uncertainty and the difficultly in measuring these numbers.

Jobs Lost to Date*

Projected Job Loss

Jobs at Risk
300,000-995,000
3.3 million-6 million
14.1 million



300,000-500,000
(Goldman Sachs)

3.3 million over 15 years
(Forrester Research)

14.1 million
(UC Berkeley)

400,000-500,000
(Business Week)

6 million over 10 years
(Goldman Sachs)

995,000
(economy.com)

* The total size of the U.S. Labor Force is 140 million jobs

Isolating the white-collar jobs that have specifically been lost to outsourcing versus the normal business cycle or other factors is very difficult. To get a better understanding of how the above estimates were derived and the challenge of interpreting these numbers, please see "Outsourcing: Stains on the White Collar" by Jacob Kirkegaard.

The Center is committed to finding progressive solutions to the problems associated with outsourcing. Part of this process is soliciting thoughtful views by a variety of experts on the issue of outsourcing. Our first is by Josh Bivens of the Economic Policy Institute.

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