US Tech Jobs Weathering Recession

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New government data shows that IT is faring better than many industries when it comes to employment

Technology has not been hit as hard as some by the recession says the industry group TechAmerica Foundation.

The organisation, basing its premise on recent government data, shows that between January and June of this year 115,000 jobs have been lost –much of that coming from the technology manufacturing sector.

“The tech industry has suffered the full force of the global economic recession in the first half of this year, yet we believe it has weathered the storm better than most,” said TechAmerica Foundation President Christopher W. Hansen in a news release. “Given that technology is an important economic driver, long-term investments and globally competitive tax policies are critical for encouraging technology companies to form and flourish in the United States and add new American jobs.”

TechAmercia reports the following: From June 2008—when the financial crisis and economic downturn were gaining momentum—through June 2009, tech lost 224,100 jobs, a 3.7 percent workforce decline. Over the same time period the U.S. private sector shed jobs at a higher pace—5.1 percent.

For the six months between January and June, the losses were the greatest for U.S. high-tech manufacturing employment. Technology manufacturers shed 69,500 net jobs in the first half of 2009, a 5.6 percent loss, leaving a total of 1.2 million tech manufacturing jobs in June. This represented 11.6 percent of total U.S. manufacturing jobs lost over that time period.

Total U.S. high-tech services employment was also down over the previous six months, but not as severely as manufacturing. Technology service providers shed 45,500 net jobs from January to June of 2009, a one percent drop for a total of 4.6 million jobs. The breakdown was: engineering and tech services (-21,500), communications services (-13,600), and software services (-10,400).

Employment across the technology industry seems to have faltered in comparison to private sectors employers as a whole during this same six month period. While high-tech employment declined by 1.9 percent from January to June 2009, private sector employment held steady with 0.2 percent growth.

Job board Dice.com that specialises in technology jobs had over 49,000 technology listings for positions in early September, nearly half which were for contract positions, and many which were based in the Northeast cities, including Washington D.C., Baltimore, New Jersey and New York.

Some of the big names in tech in Silicon Valley are hiring, including software-as-a-service firm Salesforce.com, search giant Google and others. A recent article from US News and World Report on best cities for technology jobs highlights regions of the country that are deeply entrenched in research and technology development.