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December Tech Job Cuts Finally Down, Down, Down

Outsourcing firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas announced job cuts for December, and finally high tech seems in sync with the rest of the nation's economy. Overall, announced job cuts fell to their lowest level since the beginning of the recession. In high tech -- which we've been considering as the combination of electronics, computers, and telecommunications -- last month's total finally broke through the four-digit floor. At 808, it was less than the next lowest sector total in September. Here's a summary of 2009:

Sector January February March April May June July August September October November December
Electronics 11,050 11,065 11,500 6,608 1,423 4,103 1,343 1,562 683 10,882 4,792 239
Computer 22,330 3,960 5,290 1,702 15,384 2,795 1,684 75 494 7,089 4,106 352
Telecom 13,056 5,666 250 262 812 802 17,601 749 617 226 3,810 217
Total 46,436 20,691 17,040 8,572 17,619 7,700 20,628 2,386 1,794 18,197 12,708 808
Here a graph of the monthly results for the year with a trend line for the industry totals:

Getting into line at all with other industries has proven difficult. The job market on a whole has seen five consecutive declines in monthly layoffs, but high tech has seen nothing approaching a straight line. The longest stretch of declines, three, was in the early part of the year. The volatility suggests that declaring the worst to be over is likely premature, and considering that consumer confidence still lags and that prices had to be slashed during the recent holiday season to get people to purchase, the big question becomes how long will it be until, instead of counting job cuts, we'll be able to track job additions.

That said, although we'll keep monitoring layoff activities, this will probably be the last monthly post on the subject for a while if the trend continues down. However, if there is a big change, we'll be back with more tables and charts.

Executioner image via stock.xchng user sateda, standard site license.

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