Washington (June 14, 2004) - Outsourcing, a rising movement which labor leaders charge is a primary cause of U.S. job layoffs, actually accounts for a small portion of job furloughs, according to a report released late last week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In the report, the BLS said that among the nearly 240,000 workers laid off during the first quarter of the year, only 2 percent, or roughly 4,700, lost their jobs for reasons "associated with the movement of work outside the country."
Meanwhile the BLS said 9 percent of “non-seasonal” U.S. layoffs during the  first quarter were due to outsourcing, but less than a third of the work was actually sent overseas.

However, skeptics claimed the BLS statistics were based on a “limited sample survey” of companies. The survey covered companies employing where at least 50 employees were laid off and filed for unemployment insurance during a five-week period and the layoff lasted more than 30 days.

Although industries such as banking and insurance have been outsourcing jobs and services to countries such as India and China for several years, the accounting profession has been a relative latecomer to the practice with hundreds of firms using primarily chartered accountants in India for tax preparation services.

- WebCPA staff

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