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Industry Research : Call Center Industry Still Very Viable for Maine
For much of the past two decades, economic development officials have been courting companies hoping to have them establish call centers in communities in all corners of the state.
Citing low labor costs, a ready and willing workforce, and affordable land and facilities, the push to bring company's support services to Maine has yielded several large companies establishing customer support and technical service centers in the state.
Labor experts estimate that at its peak a couple years ago, about 7,000 Mainers worked in the teleservices industry.
Economist Charles Colgan says Maine is well positioned for continued growth in the industry.
"Call center business held up as good as you could expect in a recession," stated Colgan. Colgan says most of the changes in employment have been the result of shifts in corporate ownership.
When MBNA merged with Bank of America, four call centers were closed in the state, with hundreds of people losing their jobs.
There are similar concerns about what a proposed merger between T-Mobile and AT&T could mean for the 400 remaining call center employees at T-Mobile's location in central Maine (The Justice Department has blocked the proposed merger, but will hear arguments from representatives of the two companies later this month).
Despite the uncertainty, Colgan says Maine should continue to see more development and investment in call centers. He says many companies are moving their operations back stateside because of quality issues in countries where the jobs had been out sourced to.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Tuesday, September 13, 2011