Study: Teleservices Firms Target Smaller Towns for Call Centers

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The highest number of new call center jobs sprouted last year in metropolitan areas of the United States and Canada, but the teleservices industry increasingly is looking to small-town America for new call centers, marketing consultant Deloitte & Touche said yesterday.

With 4,500 new call center jobs in 2000, Baton Rouge, LA, had the largest call center job growth in North America. The city was followed by Oklahoma City, with 3,717 new jobs; Dallas-Fort Worth, with 3,600; McAllen, TX, with 3,315; and Tampa-St. Petersburg, FL, with 3,300.

The number of new call center jobs located in small U.S. and Canadian cities nearly tripled, from 4,655 in 1997 to 12,800 in 2000, Deloitte said. Many new jobs during the past two years were created in the U.S.-Mexico border region in Texas. Companies moving to small towns want to take advantage of the remaining pockets of affordable labor in North America, said Andy Shapiro, senior manager at Deloitte & Touche.

From 1997 to 2000, most call center job growth occurred in metropolitan areas. Tampa-St. Petersburg led with 11,060 call center jobs in the period. Others included Dallas-Fort Worth with 8,880 new jobs and Kansas City, MO, with 8,480.

Overall, new call center jobs increased 12 percent in 2000 and are up 40 percent since 1997. However, the number of new call center facilities is declining, down to 167 in 2000 from 176 in 1999.

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