How Labor Productivity Affects Your Savings

03.18.08 | Work | 0 Comments | by Fred Siegmund

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We tend to think of savings in personal terms as income set aside in personal accounts.

But improvements in labor productivity are also saving because new and better ways to produce products and provide services save resources.

Take the customer service representative, a job with potential savings. Customer service representatives serve as a point of contact for customers in nearly every sector of the economy, although they have more jobs in the financial services sector than anywhere else.

There are now almost 2.2 million jobs as customer services representatives, making it the 7th largest profession in America. More importantly, their numbers continue to grow.

Unlike autoworkers, who have to be at the auto plant to do their work, customer service representatives can be anywhere they have a computer and a telephone. Working from home saves the personal costs of transportation.

Even better, the cost of driving for gasoline, car insurance, car repairs and child care saves after tax dollars. The savings go directly to those who hold the jobs.

Telecommuting also saves businesses the expense of providing office space, building maintenance, electricity, heating and air conditioning, which gives them incentives to have some staff working at home at least some of the time.

To top it off, telecommuting saves society from clogged highways, air pollution, road maintenance and traffic enforcement.

Given the complexity of America's many service plans in loans, credit cards, insurance, telecommunications, health care and utilities, customer service work will not be decreasing anytime soon. The growth rate for customer service jobs continues to be above the growth rate for jobs in general with nearly 250 thousand new jobs reported since 2000.

The Bureau of labor Statistics is forecasting annual growth at around 55,000 new jobs a year. Telecommuting for customer service representatives would generate substantial savings given their large numbers in the labor force.

And, unlike so many other jobs, some of the savings goes directly to the workforce.

Fred Siegmund covers America's jobs as part of work doing labor market analysis and projections for a client base of recruiters, trainers and counselors. Visit him at

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