High Tech Unemployment Rates Fall

July 26, 2004 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - High-tech unemployment rates fell from the first to the second quarter, even though the number of employed computer professionals dropped.

The unemployment rate for computer software engineers fell from 3.3% in the first quarter to 2.9% in the second. For computer scientists and system analysts, the rate went from 6.7% to 4%; for computer programmers it fell from 9.5% to 5.7% , according to an Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE-USA) news release, citing Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data.

“Sadly, part of the unemployment improvements might be because some technical professionals have become discouraged and are leaving the field,” IEEE-USA President John Steadman said.  

In fact, during the second quarter, there was a decline of 131,000 employed computer software engineers.   Additionally, employed computer scientists and systems analysts have fallen 51,000 during the same period, while computer hardware engineers dropped 3,000.

The IEEE-USA found more encouraging trends in the number of employed electrical and electronics engineers ( EEs ), which rose by 24,000 from the first to second quarters. Additionally, the EE unemployment rate, which stood at 5.3% in the first quarter, was 0.8% in the second quarter.

“The EE employment figure is encouraging, and we’re interested to see if the trend continues,” Steadman said.