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The number of US tech jobs is on the rise after suffering four years of decline. In 2005, 61,000 new tech jobs were created in the US taking the total number employed in the sector to 5.6 million.

According to US techie trade group, the AeA, this growth "is an important first step in the turnaround of the high tech industry, and represents a significant change from a previous four-year decline".

Adding more detail to its research, the AeA found that the high tech manufacturing industry added 3,300 jobs in 2005 - the first increase since 2000. At the same time, software services and engineering and tech services employment was up in 2005 for the second year in a row.

While the AeA has welcomed these early signs of a recovery it warned that the US faces further difficulties unless it adapts to changes in the world economy.

"To promote the creation of high-paying technology jobs for the future, we need to address the competitiveness issues facing our country, today," said AeA boss William Archey.

"This means that all Americans need to recognise that we live in an increasingly competitive world. To prepare ourselves for this challenge, we need to invest in long term basic research, particularly in the physical sciences."

He also reckons the US needs to attract and retain "the brightest individuals" from overseas to help create jobs and wealth. And he wants a shake-up of the education system so that kids are prepared "to compete in an economy that is knowledge-based and driven by technology". ®

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