Tuesday, June 9, 2009

High-Tech Jobs Lost

George Avalos writes for The Contra Costa Times: East Bay tech jobs melting away

Hundreds of high-tech job losses this year alone are becoming a grim new challenge for a wobbly East Bay economy that's attempting to stabilize itself.

So far in 2009, employers have shed just under 1,850 jobs in the technology or telecommunications sector, according to information culled from state and regional agencies.

To be sure, technology and telecommunications job losses might not boast as much notoriety as the employment devastation unleashed by the implosion of the banking, mortgage and automotive industries. But tech and telecom cutbacks have also jolted the East Bay in a significant way.

It's possible the jobs lost in the current tech downturn won't be resurrected, even when the economy rebounds, warned David Coursey, an industry analyst and blogger with PC World.

"The number of tech jobs goes up, goes down, and goes up again, but each peak is lower than the previous one," Coursey said.

The heyday of the tech industry in terms of jobs was during the Internet bubble of the late 1990s. That bubble evaporated after investors grew impatient when numerous online startups failed to produce profits — and also displayed no evidence they could ever get in the black.

"We hit a maximum number of tech jobs during the dot-com boom," Coursey said. "We might never reach that level of employment again.”