WashTech News: IT Industry News
September 14, 2004
WashTech News

Study Details Three Year U.S. High-Tech Job Bust

High-Tech Cities See No Job Growth, High Unemployment

Seattle, Wash--- A new report by the Center for Urban Economic Development at the University of Illinois, Chicago, shows that U.S. high-technology workers are still facing chronic unemployment and a serious jobs deficit despite an economic recovery being declared three years ago.

The report, entitled "Americas High-Tech Bust," found that the U.S. high-tech economy continued to lose a whopping 200,000 jobs after the recession was declared over in November 2001 by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

This is the first time a report has tried to tackle the impact of the economic bust for high-tech workers at a national level.

The report found that high-tech workers have seen a doubling of unemployment rates in the past three years. The University of Illinois at Chicago conducted the research for the Washington Alliance of Technology Workers, a local of the Communications Workers of America.

The report goes on to analyze job growth and unemployment in six key regional high-tech labor markets. For example, San Jose continued to lose more than 14,000 IT jobs after November 2001, and its neighbor to the north, San Francisco, lost 9,300. The unemployment rate faced by San Jose area technology employees still remains high, going from 1% in 1997 to more than 6% by 2002, and in San Francisco from 1.3% in 1997 to more than 8.8% in 2002, the last year for which data are available.

The other labor markets studied are Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Seattle and Washington, DC. Nearly every labor market mirrored the Silicon Valleys experience, with Washington, DC the only location to show positive job growth in the past year.

The report cited offshore outsourcing as contributing to the lack of strong job creation in this sector.

Marcus Courtney, president of WashTech, noted that only a few years ago, the high-tech economy in the U.S. was the most dynamic sector and touted as the new economy that was going to be the backbone of job creation for the future as the nation moved away from its manufacturing roots. "It is stunning to think that in every region of the country, we have fewer high-tech jobs today than we did three years ago. We must focus on exporting our products instead of our jobs to turn this critical situation around."

Most of the time the focus is on the month to month unemployment and job creation numbers. This report provides a three-year look at what those monthly statistics have meant for high-tech workers and their families, said Snigdha Srivastava, researcher at the UIC Center for Urban Economic Development.

More about The UIC Center for Urban Economic Development
The mission of the Center for Urban Economic Development at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC-CUED) is to analyze disparities in the urban economy and their implications for low- income and minority communities. UIC-CUED works in partnership with low-income and minority urban communities to devise strategies for job-centered development. Through specially constructed models of technical assistance, and engaged research with community organizations, labor unions, employers and government, UIC-CUED enters into long-term partnerships to conduct implementation research, to evaluate community development programs and strategies, and to translate lessons from practice into public policy.

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