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Mischievous idea: help the economy, bring outsourced jobs back

April 15, 2009
The corporation that Wall Street nicknames Sallie Mae manages $180 billion in student loans and has a mission of helping American society. Fine. American society is in recession. What to do?

Sallie Mae has decided that one thing it can do is bring back 2,000 jobs it had outsourced to other countries. That's one hire for every four current employees in its U.S. operations.

The company will hire call center, computer and support people over the next 18 months.

This is an intriguing idea, even a mischievous one. It certainly is not good for the nations that have been reaping a windfall from the U.S. outsourcing trend. It may even add to cost, since cutting costs was usually the impetus for outsourcing jobs in the first place.

Hawaiian Airlines outsourced some back office jobs to the Philippines. Other local companies use India-based outsources. This can also happen from state to state - Horizon Lines has a customer service office at Sand Island but Matson outsources the same function to someplace on the mainland, Arizona, I think.

On the theory that unemployed persons will have lower wage requirements than people would have in a booming economy, there may be a window of opportunity for some businesses to bring some offshore jobs back to Hawaii, adding to the customer base that drives our economy.

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