Tech industry: Fewer jobs lost than U.S. private sector, says TechAmerica Foundation

TechAmerica Foundation sees 1.9 percent job loss in first-half 2009, and at a slower rate than the U.S. private sector, based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics information.


TechAmerica Foundation report on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

TechAmerica Foundation report on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics sees fewer losses of high tech jobs, compared to general U.S. workforce in first half 2009.

A TechAmerica Foundation report based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows the U.S. high-tech industry shed 115,000 jobs between January and June 2009, a 1.9 percent decline, less than the general U.S. workforce. The report looks at four sectors within the high-tech industry: high-tech manufacturing, communications services, software services, and engineering and tech services.

"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. "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."

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, TechAmerica Foundation said.

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 theprevious six months, but not as severely as manufacturing. Technologyservice providers shed 45,500 net jobs from January to June of 2009, a1 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), the organization reported.

Employmentacross the technology industry seems to have faltered in comparison toprivate sectors employers as a whole during this same six month period.While high-tech employment declined by 1.9 percent from January to June2009, private sector employment held steady with 0.2 percent growth.

Apparentgrowth in private sector employment reflects the fact that thesefigures are not seasonally adjusted, and, among other factors, includea temporary increase in employment nationwide that typically occurs atthe beginning of June when schools close and there is an influx ofyouth and other part-time or temporary workers into the workforce. Themore widely cited seasonally adjusted data, which remove these seasonalfluctuations, show that the private sector lost 2.6 million jobs, or2.3 percent over this time period. A direct comparison is not possiblebecause seasonally adjusted data are not available for high tech.

Alldata are compiled from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' CurrentEmployment Survey and are preliminary, subject to revision, and notadjusted for seasonal variances. This report is not comparable toTechAmerica's annual Cyberstates report, which examines the high-techindustry for all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

TechAmerica Competitiveness Series reports can be downloaded for free .

Lobbying effort: Coalition of manufacturing representatives and industry suppliers request government support of industry via tax credits aimed at safe, sustainable manufacturing investments

In separate but related news, a group of manufacturing industry representatives--including the National Association of Manufacturers, American National Electrical Manufacturers Association, the Manufacturers Alliance, and Rockwell Automation--has gone on record noting that a federal strategy and support is critical if American manufacturers are to thrive in the post-recession global economy.
Industry leaders requesting government action recommended the following federal actions:
• Ensure legislative priorities are in line with those of manufacturers and the general public;
• Double federal funding for manufacturing innovation;
• Establish a $2 billion public-private partnership program to research and develop a manufacturing "greenprint" for smart, safe and sustainable manufacturing;
• Provide federal assistance for public-private partnerships to create demonstration projects that foster manufacturing innovation; and
• Expand federal tax credits to apply to investments in advanced technologies that automate and modernize factories.

- Edited by Mark T. Hoske, electronic products editor, Manufacturing Business Technology MBT

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