Quantifying the Outsourcing of Jobs from Manufacturing to Services

by TREGENNA, F. , 2008
South African Journal of Economics Vol. 76:S2 August 2008

There has been debate internationally and in South Africa about the extent to which a relative decline in manufacturing employment and rise in services employment can be accounted for by intersectoral outsourcing of jobs in the domestic economy. This article develops a new methodology for testing for and quantifying outsourcing at an economy-wide level. This methodology is used to analyse intersectoral shifts in employment in South Africa between 1997 and 2005. Trends in employment in the business services subsector of services are also examined for what they suggest about the extent of outsourcing. Overall, the results suggest that intersectoral outsourcing accounts for some but by no means all of the apparent shift in employment between the manufacturing and services sectors in South Africa.