American Corporations Are Adding More Jobs Overseas Than They Are at Home

With the nation’s unemployment rate still above eight percent, millions of Americans are looking for work, and the country’s biggest corporations are hiring. According to a new report from the Wall Street Journal, however, many of those corporations are adding jobs overseas at a faster pace than they are at home. Even worse, others are cutting their domestic workforces while adding jobs in other countries at a rapid pace:

Those companies, which include Wal-Mart Stores Inc., WMT +2.70% International Paper Co., Honeywell International Inc. and United Parcel Service Inc., boosted their employment at home by 3.1%, or 113,000 jobs, between 2009 and 2011, the same rate of increase as the nation’s other employers. But they also added more than 333,000 jobs in their far-flung—and faster-growing— foreign operations.

The companies included in the analysis were the largest of those that disclose their U.S. and non-U.S. employment in annual securities filings. All of them have at least 50,000 employees. Collectively, they employed roughly 6.4 million workers world-wide last year, up 7.7% from two years earlier. Over the same period, the total number of U.S. jobs increased 3.1%, according to the Labor Department.

Many of the companies are adding jobs in the U.S. but adding even more overseas — reversing a trend from a decade ago in which they were outsourcing American jobs to other countries. But some companies, like Wal-Mart, have boosted overseas employment while maintaining flat job growth in the U.S., and others, like UPS, have slashed jobs at home even while adding them in other countries:

A similar Wall Street Journal report last April found that America’s largest multinational corporations outsourced more than 2.4 million jobs over the last decade, even as they cut their overall workforces by 2.9 million.

President Obama has proposed a tax credit to encourage businesses to bring jobs from overseas back to the United States in order to relieve high unemployment and boost economic growth. Republicans and corporations, meanwhile, have blamed outsourcing on high taxes, even though corporations pay less in America than they would in most of the developed world.