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US tech job losses slow in 2003

Although job losses continue to hit US technology, the rate of the employment decline is slowing, according to the American Electronics Association.

Cyberstates 2003, an annual study by the AEA, showed that employment in the US high-tech industry dropped 8% last year, to six million, from 6.5 million in 2001. For 2003, it predicted the loss is likely to be 234,000, or a 4% decline.

Employment in the electronics manufacturing industry fell by 13%, with 233,000 jobs lost between 2001 and 2002. The largest losses between 2001 and 2002 were recorded in the electronic components sector, which lost 76,000 jobs; the communications equipment sector, which lost 47,000 positions; and the semiconductor sector, which lost 41,000 jobs.

Engineering and technology services lost 15,000 jobs during the same period.

In research and development and testing laboratories, employment increased by 7,000 jobs in 2002, AEA said.

California, while leading the country in high-tech jobs with 995,00 workers at the end of 2002, also lost the greatest number of jobs, with 123,000 people put out of work. Texas, in second place with 479,000 jobs, had lost 61,000 in the year. Massachusetts lost 40,000 IT jobs.

The District of Columbia saw a small rise of 2,200, while Wyoming gained 500 and Montana added 100 jobs.

Colorado led the nation in the concentration of high-tech workers in 2002, with 98 high-tech workers per 1,000 private-sector workers, followed by Massachusetts, Virginia, New Mexico and Maryland.

US high-tech exports fell 12% to $166bn in 2002. These represented 24% of all US exports that year.

Gillian Law writes for IDG News Service

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