Washington: A US daily on Tuesday reported that several Multinational Companies (MNC), which employ a fifth of all US workers are hiring people overseas. The report also said that this would sharpen the debate over globalization's effects on the country's economy.

New data from the US Department of Commerce have revealed that these American companies cut their work force in the US by 2.9 million during the 2000s while increasing the employment overseas by 2.4 million, 'The Wall Street Journal' reported.

"That's a big switch from the 1990s, when they added jobs everywhere: 4.4 million in the US and 2.7 million abroad," it said adding that in all, US multinationals employed 21.1
million people at home in 2009 and 10.3 million elsewhere, including increasing numbers of higher-skilled foreign workers.

"The data also underscore the vulnerability of the US economy, particularly at a time when unemployment is high and wages aren't rising. Jobs at multinationals tend to pay above-average wages and, for decades, sustained the American middle class," the report said.

Matthew Slaughter, an economist, who served as an adviser to former president George W Bush has termed it as a worrying sign.

"It's definitely something to worry about," he was quoted as saying by the paper.

According to the Commerce Department report in 2009, the companies cut 1.2 million, or 5.3 per cent, of their workers in the US and 100,000, or 1.5 per cent, of those abroad.

Agencies