The business publication La Republica Tuesday published an upbeat article that seemed tailor-made to banish any negativity about replacing the loss of Intel’s manufacturing jobs. The paper carried predictions of more than replacing the 1,500 jobs lost, although not all of them in the technical manufacturing area.
The article showed how successful the country had been in the past 13 years at attracting foreign investment and quoted the forecast of the Convergys and Suttle Costa Rica firms to hire thousands more this year.
For example, La Republica shows that in the year 2000 only six foreign firms in the service field were employing 1,061 and another eight employed a total of 1,500 in life sciences. Today 142 companies in services employ 46,465 while 57 firms engaged in life sciences employ 17,215.
In manufacturing, 30 foreign companies were already at work providing 4,400 jobs in 2000 while today 48 companies in this field fill 17,164 jobs. And this is against the fierce competition of the Far East, notably China and India where a lower living costs make low wages acceptable.
Suttle announced intentions to reinvest $1.2 million to enlarge is operations here and when combined with Convergys, according to Republica, will mean at least 800 new jobs — sweet music in a country that will lose it largest manufacturing employer and currently wrestles with 10% unemployment.
The Republica figures show another factor — manufacturing, even in this automated era, tends to employ the most per company but are harder to attract than in other fields. Since nearly all the companies quoted for 2013 were in the industrial parks, it pays to grant perks to companies.
The paper cites Convergys as creating at least 700 new jobs, specializing in sales, customer service and technical support.
In all of 2013, this country attracted $583 million in foreign investment, some 6% more than had been predicted early that year. The grow was in 43 new projects high technology meaning a growth of 35 new companies.
The sharpest promotion tool in the box when it comes to attracting business is CINDE, the private firm that specializes in this. The number of new projects attracted by this persuasive firm has produced a 14% growth in new projects since 2010.
Comment: Branches of foreign companies with a power to influence the head office in other countries have a tendency to stay, partly because of the Costa Rican worker himself. He does extremely well in service fields with direct contact with clients because of a natural sociability.
In Intel’s case, it was the main office’s eye on the bottom line that motivated their abandonment of the country. We note they still left part of their operation here that directly deals with service.