US tech job losses slowing?
Getting worse at a slower pace
The number of job losses in the US tech sector have hit staggering levels through the first half of this year. A report from the AEA, the American Electronics Association, shows that in the first few months as many as 113,000 employees were shown the door in one way or another. But hope is at hand - the organisation reckon that the rate of redundancies are slowing.
The past couple of years have been positively brutal for the tech sector. Falling revenues, consolidation and an overall lack of impetus has left the market battered and bruised. And companies going to the wall have left a substantial dent in the US employment figures. From January 2001 to June 2002 it is currently estimated that as many as 430,000 employees have been made redundant from the tech sector alone.
Looking at the estimated US tech sector workforce, this is a bite and a half. Last year, in March 2001, it was thought that there were as many as 5.7 million people working in the tech sector in the US. In June of this year it had fallen back closer to 5.3 million. That's roughly 8 per cent of the tech workforce that lost its job in recent times. Prior to the tech boom, back in the 90s, the US tech workforce was 4 million.
The worst hit in the tech economy, it seems, is the manufacturing sector which is pummelled from left to right by every swing in fortunes. According to the AEA, since January 2001 right until June 2002, high tech manufacturing employment declined every single month.
The communications industry didn't fair any better either. With its heartland firmly entrenched in the Internet it was battered by both the tech downturn and the dot com collapse. This led to employment in the sector falling by 6.4% between January 2001 and June 2002.
Software got off relatively lightly with a comparatively moderate fall of 1% over this same time period.
The feeling now is that the industry employment record may have hit a plateau prior, we all hope, to benefiting from something of an upturn. Unfortunately it's not going to be anything like it used to be. Certainly there are signs of a slow down in misfortune - but there are few corresponding signs of an upswing. It looks like this could be a long and bumpy road.