Offshoring, inshoring, freeshoring: Where are the jobs headed?


Over the past few weeks, IBM (IBM) submitted a patent for a new form of off-shoring methodology, while Sallie Mae decided to move 2,000 overseas customer-service jobs back to the United States. As President Obama's economic stimulus package works to encourage American job creation, it's worth asking if the days of off-shoring are nearing their end.

Offshoring, or the process of relocating jobs to countries where labor is cheaper, has exploded in recent years. This is largely due to three main factors: reduced labor costs, less restrictive labor laws, and lax regulatory standards. While off-shoring was initially done with manufacturing jobs, it has expanded to include white-collar employment, including customer-service positions and even some legal work.