Ad work outsourced; will economists follow?

A sign of the times, via Romenesko:

The Charlotte Observer said Wednesday it will cut 25 of 41 jobs in its ad design group as it sends the work abroad, joining other large companies using foreign outsourcing to trim costs.

The newspaper has been testing outsourcing options for the work since last summer and chose Affinity Express, an Illinois company with facilities in the Philippines and India.

Employees, who have known layoffs were coming, received official notice Wednesday. They can apply for the 16 remaining jobs as artists, designers and "traffic coordinators" working with their overseas counterparts to complete ads, said Observer Publisher Ann Caulkins. Some people also may take positions elsewhere at the paper, which has about 1,000 workers.

Meanwhile, writing in the Phoenix, Tim Lehnert wants to outsource the economists:

The new arrangement would provide local universities with increased flexibility and lower payroll costs, and the money saved could be used for marketing, branding, and whatever else is needed to make Rhode Island's universities more competitive.
Tenured professors whose positions have been eliminated would find themselves freed up to labor in new ways. Perhaps they would return to their former full-time university employer on a limited basis, supplementing this with similar work for other schools, or with corporate or government gigs. Off-shoring would also provide opportunity for Indian economists who would see their incomes rise as they took on US work.
Where might one expect opposition to this plan? Oh, from the usual sources: hidebound unions, and poor sports unwilling to transition to a more dynamic economic model.

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