It's not outsourcing to Asia that's holding back job creation in the U.S.--it's
the growing productivity of those Americans who hold jobs, according to Stanley
Fischer, vice chairman of Citigroup and president of Citigroup International.
Fischer, who was first deputy managing director of the International Monetary
Fund during the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98, remarked during a seminar
in Singapore on Thursday that cosensus forecasts call the U.S. economy to grow
by about 4.5 percent this year. Productivity, he added, is expected to grow
at the same rate.
"If you have growth of... around 4.5 percent and productivity growth around
those rates, then you know what you don't have and that is extra jobs,"
"So the joblessness of the U.S. recovery is the flipside of the superb
productivity performance," he said. He added, however, that productivity
would head back towards its long-term rate of around 3 percent, although the
timing was uncertain.
Fischer was speaking at a seminar held at the Singapore Management University,
and his remarks were reported by the Reuters news agency.
"If you look at the role of outsourcing, you will see that the numbers
don't add up to give outsourcing the role that it is receiving politically,"
Based on past experience, he said, 3.5 million jobs should have sprung up in
the last two years, as the U.S. economy emerged from recession. Outsourcing
negated 800,000 of those jobs, but productivity gains were a greater restraining
factor, he said.