There’s a growing and bipartisan consensus that Congress needs to do more to strengthen American industries and put American workers first. From trade agreements to outsourcing policy, we are engaging in an overdue conversation that cuts across usual ideologies. However, while most of the discussion thus far has focused on the manufacturing sector, American service sector jobs need to be part of this important conversation.
In particular, call center and customer service industry jobs are a major and underappreciated economic force in the United States, including for our constituents. There are 54,000 call center jobs in the Greater Houston area alone and 17,000 in the state of West Virginia. Nationwide, there are about 4 million people employed by the call center and customer service industry.
These are good jobs, which in many American communities serve as a key pillar of local economies.
However, many call center jobs have been shipped overseas in the past decade, as companies look to slash benefits and pay dramatically lower wages overseas. Between the years 2006 and 2014, the U.S. lost more than 200,000 call center jobs, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.