High-Tech Leads Improvement in U.S. Job Market

Job losses in the high-tech sector decline again in June 2003, as the overall U.S. job market got some much-needed relief from the layoffs that had been ravaging it for more than a year now.

The computer industry lost 3,473 jobs in June, while telecommunications lost 5,528. The two sectors combined lost 54,278 jobs between January and May 2003. That is 67 percent fewer cuts than the 165,391 logged in the same five-month period last year, reports Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a Chicago-based outplacement firm that tracks job cuts and hiring trends.

Overall, layoffs declined for the second month in a row, with 59,715 jobs being lost in June. That’s the lowest figure since 44,152 jobs were cut in November 2000 – 31 months ago.

June’s job losses were 13 percent lower than the 68,623 announced in May, which was itself 53 percent lower than the 146,399 jobs lost in April, reports the outplacement firm. June also saw 37 percent fewer job losses than the same month last year.

“The decline in job cuts is, of course, good news for workers who might begin to sleep a little easier at night,” says John Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas. “However, it does not necessarily mean an immediate rebound for the millions of people who remain jobless.”

The slowdown in job losses may not be all good news, according to Challenger.

“The slowdown in job cuts may actually bring a slowdown in hiring,” says Challenger. “The fall in job cuts may mean that employers are simply staying with the workers they have, resulting in a stagnant job market.”

Since the beginning of the year, there have been 630,532 announced job cuts. That number is 14 percent below the mid-year total (735,527) recorded in 2002.

Despite the positive news, a MonsterTRAK poll of June 2003 college graduates found that most were fearful about finding full-time work. An overwhelming 90 percent of respondents said that they are willing to accept an internship or part-time work during the summer months just to have some form of employment.

“The scarcity of available entry-level work points to the continued tight market, but the latest poll results clearly show that today’s graduates are truly committed to entering the workforce, whatever it takes,” said Jeff Taylor, founder and chief Monster. “As the market shifts, these recent graduates will prove themselves to be valuable assets to the business world and American economy. Their hard work and perseverance today will surely benefit them in the years to come.”

Of the nearly 5,000 respondents, only 8 percent said they wouldn’t accept anything less than a full-time job, and 2 percent revealed that they were looking forward to the time off.

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