In 1982, only one out of four employees of U.S. multinationals was located offshore, and over 90 percent of those employees were in industrial countries. By 2007, the share of offshore employment had reached 44 percent, and the majority of those jobs were in low-income countries. These trends in offshoring are mirrored in the statistics on international trade: over the past two decades imports from low-wage countries have more than doubled . 1
Over this same time period, U.S. employment in the manufacturing sector fell sharply and income inequality increased. The downward trend in U.S. manufacturing employment began with the multinationals and coincided with their expansion offshore: between 1982 and 1999 U.S. based multinationals reduced employment domestically by 4 million workers. Our research is motivated by these parallel developments and seeks to understand the implications for American workers.
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