Tech Unemployment Bad, but Not That Bad

Earlier this month, hard drive maker Seagate became the latest tech firm to announce layoffs: 1100 cuts, or 2.5% of its workforce. But while unemployment in the technology sector accelerated in the first quarter of 2009, according to projections by the IEEE in a report published this week, it will pale in comparison to the job losses following the collapse of the
tech bubble in 2001.

After the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the firesale of several major banks in late 2008, job losses mounted quickly in most sectors of the economy–but not in tech. Layoffs were minimal until the turn of the new year, when they spiked dramatically.


The IEEE says that new graduates and young workers, both common in tech companies, will feel the pain more than their older counterparts. But even if job losses continue on their current track throughout 2009, it’s unlikely they’ll even break 350,000, sector-wide. Compare that to almost 700,000 jobs lost in the same sector in 2001, and the cuts come into sharp perspective. Check out the graph above, compiled by the IEEE.

To see a good analysis of real unemployment nationwide across all sectors, check out Wired’s tabulation here.

Related: Top Jobs 2009