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­.s. Loses High-Tech Jobs as R&d Shifts Toward Asia

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China manufacturing facility

U.S. multinational corporations rapidly increased the number of high-tech manufacturing and R&D jobs overseas over the past decade.

Credit: Flickr

The U.S. is losing high-tech jobs as American companies expand their research and development (R&D) labs in Asia, according to the U.S. National Science Board.

These companies hope to tap a broader pool of scientific talent, design products for overseas markets, and gain favor with foreign governments by conducting more research abroad. Although U.S.-based labs have developed new products such as the iPad tablet and the Kindle e-book reader, those products are manufactured in Asia, which increases fears among industry experts that more R&D will flow to Asia.

In the six years preceding 2009, about 85 percent of the growth in R&D workers employed by U.S.-based multinational companies has been abroad, according to a National Science Board report. Meanwhile, U.S. employment in high-technology manufacturing has decreased 28 percent since 2000 to 1.8 million jobs, mostly due to more efficient manufacturing techniques and the recession, according to the report.

Many companies are largely opening up new labs in areas with high concentrations of engineering and scientific talent, notes the report, which states that 56 percent of the world's engineering degrees awarded in 2008 were in Asia, compared with just 4 percent in the U.S.

From Wall Street Journal 
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