Apple Inc.'s reputation has received a battering in recent months as stories emerged of child labor, forced overtime, minimum-wage violations, unsafe conditions, and suicides at its contracted factories in China. If people are angry about your reliance on cheap, exploited, foreign labor, it's smart PR to release a report about the hundreds of thousands of jobs you've created on U.S. soil.
The study, which Apple released Friday and was conducted in part by the consulting firm Analysis Group, said that the company had directly and indirectly created 514,000 U.S. jobs. The country's largest publicly traded company has spawned 304,00 jobs in U.S. companies across various sectors, including manufacturing and transportation.
Another 210,000 have been created, the report claims, if you look at the big companies and startups that are developing apps for Apple's mobile devices. According to Apple, there are over half a billion apps available for download to its products.
The company also points to the jobs it helps keep in the U.S. that people might not expect. The majority of glass for the iPhone, for example, is manufactured in Kentucky, and 7,700 Americans man its technical support lines, even though outsourcing them would cut costs at least in half, the company claims.
"But we keep these jobs in the U.S. because it helps us deliver a better customer experience," the report states.
Apple has made other moves to improve the image of its labor chain. Last month, it became the first electronics company to join the Fair Labor Association, a group that was originally formed 13 years ago to monitor working conditions at garment factories abroad.
Apple's supply chain raises big issues about globalization, corporate responsibility and the future of the U.S. workforce. But when Apple unveils its new iPad today, these questions will probably be overtaken by more pressing ones, like how sweet will the screen resolution really be?
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