Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Holy Guest Editorial Adirondack Man! Poverty and ADK Jobs

George Bryjak of Bloomingdale, Essex County has written an incredible guest editorial for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise:

As I enter the seventh decade of life, my most enduring recollections are of people toiling in Third World nations. As a young Marine in Vietnam, I watched three men ploughing a field like beasts of burden in the scorching heat. Two were yoked to a plough while the third stood on the blade. After about 60 slow yards of muscle-aching drudgery, they stopped. The men rotated positions upon completing a row with each man getting a much-needed rest every third pull.

The rest is even more powerful. A quick search for Bryjak’s work turned up a lot of material including an excellent piece entitled “Outsourcing the American Dream” in Z Magazine from 2004 on the threat of out-sourcing jobs. A sample:

A study of 400 of the nation’s top 1,000 companies concluded that by 2006, between 35 and 45 percent of current full-time IT jobs will be sent overseas. Using Bureau of Labor Statistics data, Bardhan and Kroll estimate that of the almost 128 million workers in the U.S., 11 percent—or just over 14 million individuals—are at risk of having their jobs outsourced.

IT positions will follow the millions of manufacturing jobs already lost, only at a more rapid pace. As Matthew Slaughter of Dartmouth College notes, “IT work will move faster because it is easier to ship work across phone lines and put consultants on airplanes than it is to ship bulky raw materials across borders and build factories.”

Significantly lower labor costs are the primary rationale for this job exodus. While telephone operators in the U.S. earn an average of $12.57 an hour, in India they make less than $1.00 Payroll clerks take home less than $2.00 an hour whereas their counterparts in the U.S. average $15.17 an hour. Business Week reports, “Soon, offshore accountants may do everything but on-site audits.” Medical billing may become the first occupational category to all but disappear.

We wonder – how did that estimate of 35 to 45 percent of IT jobs being outsourced by 2006 actually work out?

Mr. Bryjak, paging Mr. Bryjak.

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John Warren

John Warren has been exploring the woods and waters of the Adirondacks for almost 50 years. After a career as a print journalist and documentary television producer he founded Adirondack Almanack in 2005 and co-founded the geolocation services company Adirondack Atlas in 2015.

John remains active in traditional media. His Adirondack Outdoors Conditions Report can be heard Friday mornings across the region on the stations of North Country Public Radio and on 93.3 / 102.1 The Mix. Since 2008, John has been a media specialist on the staff of the New York State Writers Institute.

John is also a professional researcher and historian with a M.A. in Public History. He edits The New York History Blog and is the author of two books of regional history. As a Grant Consultant for the William G. Pomeroy Foundation, he has reviewed hundreds of historic roadside marker grant applications from around New York State for historical accuracy.

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