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U.S. Loses High-Tech Jobs as R&D Shifts Toward Asia

Wall Street Journal (01/18/12) Hagerty, James

The National Science Board warns that the U.S. is rapidly losing high-technology jobs as U.S.-based companies such as 3M Co., Caterpillar Inc., and General Electric Co. expand their overseas research-and-development (R&D) labs. And while U.S.-based labs continue to innovate, developing such hit products as the iPad tablet, those products are made in Asia, increasing fears that more R&D will flow to Asia. Researchers often prefer to work near factories, where ideas can be tested quickly.

In the six years through 2009, approximately 85% of the growth in R&D workers employed by U.S.-based multinational companies has been overseas, according to the National Science Board, a policy-making arm of the federal government’s National Science Foundation. Overall U.S. employment in high-technology manufacturing has declined 28% since 2000 to about 1.8 million jobs, the report said.