Tech jobs up slightly in first half '08

Despite a weakening economy and rising unemployment figures, the U.S. technology industry added 78,300 jobs between January and July of this year, for a total of 5.92 million workers, or a 1.3 percent rise, according to an employment study released today by AeA. The study is based on preliminary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That is less than the 111,400 technology jobs added during the same period in 2007. Technology job growth during the first half of 2008 also lagged behind private-sector employment, which rose a modest 2.0 percent over the same period.

The AeA report looks at four sectors in the technology community: high-tech manufacturing, communications services, software services, and engineering and tech services.

High-tech manufacturing employment in the United States was down the first seven months of 2008, continuing the downward trend of the last 19 months. Technology manufacturers shed 2,500 net jobs from January to July 2008 for a total of 1.28 million jobs. That represents a 0.2 percent decrease, AeA reported.

However, employment in technology services grew by 80,800 net jobs for a 1.8 percent increase. The most significant growth occurred in engineering and technology services, which added 50,000 jobs, for a 3.1 percent rise. Software services added 42,300 jobs, for a 2.6 percent increase. However, communications services lost 11,500 jobs, a 0.9 percent drop, between January and July.

This is the fourth straight year that the U.S. technology industry has added jobs, AeA President and Chief Executive Officer Christopher Hansen said in a statement. "But the pace of growth is slowing, and given the economic downturn and current disruption in the financial markets, future job growth will be ? at best ? uncertain."

Hansen added that the technology industry "recognizes that budget shortfalls, exacerbated by the current financial crisis and rescue package, will require the federal government to make difficult funding choices; but these are not investments that can be scaled back or postponed without inflicting long-term damage to American competitiveness."

AeA, formerly the American Electronics Association, is a Washington-based non-profit trade association that represents all segments of the technology industry. The organization has unveiled plans to merge with the Information Technology Association of America.

About the Author

David Hubler is the former print managing editor for GCN and senior editor for Washington Technology. He is freelance writer living in Annandale, Va.

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