Tech job growth slowdown recorded in 2001

An industry trade group has released a new report offering further evidence of a sharp decline in job growth in US high-tech...

An industry trade group has released a new report offering further evidence of a sharp decline in job growth in US high-tech industry during 2001.

The AeA (formerly the American Electronics Association) has released its annual Cyberstates report that this year records companies in the high-tech sector adding 80,000 technology jobs in 2001, compared with 440,000 new jobs in 2000.

This represents the smallest rate of job growth in the US high-tech sector since the Cyberstates report was first published six years ago. Twenty states saw a decline in industry employment, the AeA reported.

"Job growth has definitely slowed, not surprisingly," said Michaele Platzer, vice-president of research with AeA.

The total number of employees in the US high-tech sector totalled 5.6 million in 2001, up just 1% from 5.5 million in 2000, the report said.

The job data used by the AeA for its Cyberstates report comes from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), and is the most recent data from the agency. It encompasses 45 market segments related to the technology industry based on categories defined by the BLS, such as manufacturing, communications services, software and computer related services.

In a US state-by-state rundown, California topped the list for high-tech job growth in 2001. Home to major technology companies such as Intel and Sun Microsystems, the state added 12,400 new high-tech jobs, showing a gain of about 1.3% over 2000. Comparatively, in 2000 California's high-tech employment grew by 13% over the previous year, adding 113,000 jobs.

In second place, Kansas added 6,800 high-tech jobs in 2001. Virginia saw its high-tech work force increase by 4,300 and Oregon saw a gain of 4,200 high-tech employees.

At the other end of the spectrum, South Dakota saw its high-tech job roster fall by 2,100, or 14%, from 2000 to 2001, accounting for the greatest percentage drop among all of the US states.

Texas scored worst in terms of the absolute number of jobs lost - its high-tech job roster fell by 3,000 from 2000 to 2001. The industry sectors most affected in Texas included defence electronics, semiconductor manufacturing and manufacturing of computers and peripherals, Platzer said.

"Overall in Texas the manufacturing industry was hit really hard," Platzer said.

Manufacturing jobs were hard hit throughout the US as well. About 65,000 jobs were eliminated in the sector in 2001, down 3% from 2000.

Jobs related to software and computer-related services, meanwhile, offered one bright spot in the year's figures, as 100,000 jobs were added in 2001, accounting for a 5% gain over the previous year.

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