WASHINGTON D.C. - U.S. Senator Bob Casey, Chairman of the Joint Economic Committee (JEC), today released a JEC report examining the threat of international trade on service-industry jobs and the role that Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) plays in providing financial and job training assistance to affected workers. The report, entitled “Trade Adjustment Assistance: Helping Workers Harmed by Global Competition in the Market for Services” highlights the importance of an educated workforce to protect jobs and enhance economic growth.
“We have to ensure workers have the opportunities and skills to compete in a changing global economy,” said Chairman Casey. “Congress temporarily expanded Trade Adjustment Assistance to include service workers, but now must closely examine how to better prepare our workers to compete for jobs that are critical to the innovation that fuels our economy.”
A series of advances in technology has enabled many goods and services to be moved overseas in a process known as “offshore outsourcing” or “offshoring”. In the past this shift primarily impacted manufacturers, but now the effects are being felt by service industries once viewed as immune to offshoring, such as x-ray diagnostics and computer programming. Retraining for jobs in service industries can differ significantly from retraining for manufacturing, requiring policymakers to closely examine ways to prepare service workers to successfully meet the challenge of global competition.
Service-industry jobs have increased markedly as a share of the U.S. workforce, rising from half of the private workforce in 1945 to 80 percent today. TAA was expanded to include workers in the service industry in 2009. This expansion was reauthorized in 2011 but currently is set to expire at the end of 2013.
The inclusion of service jobs in TAA resulted in a spike in TAA certifications. In FY 2012, California (7,214 workers) and Ohio (7,082 workers) had the greatest number of new TAA-certified workers, followed by New York (4,262 workers), Texas (4,204 workers), Arkansas (4,169 workers) and Pennsylvania (4,013 workers). Nationwide, 32 percent of all TAA certified workers were employed in the service sector.
The full report is available here.