Challenger: Tech Job Cuts Plummet During First Half 2003

July 9, 2003 ( - The employment bloodletting among US high-tech firms appears to have eased for now with announced job cuts during the first half of the year down 60% from last year.

According to a regular report from outplacement outfit Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., techie firms announced 97,999 job cuts in the January to June 2003 time frame, down from the 243,200 during the same period in 2002.

The biggest decline has come from the telecommunications sector where companies announced 36,025 job cuts so far in 2003 – 78% lower than the 165,840 eliminations during the same period a year before (See  Telecom Job Reduction Plummet Means High Tech Employment Improvement ).In fact, the 2003 six-month telecommunications total of 36,025 is about equal to the number of job cuts announced by the industry just in February 2002 (35,937).

Job cuts in the high-tech sector, which includes electronics, telecommunications, computer and e-commerce, currently represent 16% of all 630,532 job cuts announced so far this year. That is the lowest figure since Challenger began its quarterly report on high-tech cuts two years ago. By comparison, high-tech cuts accounted for one-third of all eliminations during the first six months of 2002.

In addition to the major decline in telecommunications job cuts, the computer sector also experienced a significant 51% drop, to 27,255 in the first half of 2003 from 55,398 job cuts through June 2002.

Job cuts by e-commerce firms have remained relatively steady compared to a year ago, while electronics was the only area to see an increase, with employers in this sector announcing 61% more job cuts than they did a year ago (32,629 vs. 20,221).