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Dallas Fed: Opportunity Knocks in U.S. Service Sector

For Immediate Release: April 17, 2008

Key Links

Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas 2007 Annual Report:

Video: Opportunity Knocks: Selling Our Services to the World:

Richard W. Fisher speech "Selling Our Services to the World":

DALLAS—Americans can maintain good jobs and high living standards by exporting their services to the world, according to the Federal Reserve Bank ofDallas’ 2007 annual report essay.

U.S. companies are prepared to meet the world’s growing demand for services, Dallas Fed President and CEO Richard Fisher says in an opening letter.

“We export more services than any other nation—by a long shot,” Fisher writes. “Better still, most of what we sell abroad are highly valued services—industrial engineering, entertainment, health care, and the work of architects, lawyers and other professionals.”

Education is key if American companies want to outpace global competition in the service sector.

“Every chance I get, I stress the importance of education to good jobs and rising incomes in this country—a point this essay underscores,” Fisher says.

“Opportunity Knocks: Selling Our Services to the World”—the 2007 annual report essay—finds that the U.S. runs trade surpluses in 15 of 20 categories of services exports, suggesting the country is highly competitive in global markets.

A two-decade-old revolution in communications and information processing has made selling U.S. services to the world cheaper and easier, according to the essay’s authors, W. Michael Cox, senior vice president and chief economist, and Richard Alm, senior economics writer.

With their rising incomes and large populations, China and India may provide the biggest potential marketplaces for U.S. services, say Cox and Alm.

“The emerging giants we sometimes fear may offer our greatest opportunity,” they state.

The U.S. tends to export services with a high knowledge content, the product of well-paid and educated workers, the authors find.

“Most of our workers are already in the service sector, where they’ve been dealing with people, not machinery or land,” Cox and Alm write. “The combination of diversity and experience puts us ahead of most other countries in the ability to deliver services to a global marketplace.”


Media contact:
James Hoard
Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas
Phone: (214) 922-5307