A SMALL VICTORY….Factory workers who lose their jobs because their factory is moved to China are eligible for extended unemployment payments, federally funded retraining, and relocation allowances under the Trade Adjustment Act. Earlier this month, the Labor Department ruled that computer programmers who lose their jobs to outsourcing are eligible for the same assistance.

The immediate impact of this is welcome but probably small. However, it strikes me that this is an important precedent, both legally and socially. In the future, globalization is going to affect far more service jobs than manufacturing jobs, and recognizing that service industry workers need help when free trade agreements put them out of work is a welcome acknowledgment of reality.