WASHINGTON, Nov. 19 -- The US high-tech industry lost 540,000 jobs, dropping from 6.5 million to 6.0 million, in 2002; but a preliminary analysis shows the decline slowed considerably in 2003, according to a report by the American Electronics Association.
The report, "Cyberstates 2003," is scheduled to be released today. It shows the Massachusetts technology job base shrinking by 13 percent to 255,744 workers in 2002, according to an article about the report in today's Boston Globe.
Countrywide, electronics manufacturing accounted for more than half of all tech jobs lost between 2001 and 2002, the association said, and the software sector recorded a loss of nearly 150,000 jobs last year -- a first since it began publishing the report seven years ago.
"Indeed, the once-thriving software sector posted large increases in employment in all previous editions of Cyberstates," the association said.
The communications services sector posted a similar loss of jobs. The engineering and tech services sector lost 15,000 jobs in 2002. The one bright spot was in research and development and testing labs, where employment increased by 7000 in 2002.
Massachusetts lost nearly 40,000 high-tech jobs last year and tumbled a notch to fifth among US states, behind Florida, according to rankings. Massachusetts job losses were especially heavy in computer systems design and telecommunications services. Anne Doherty Johnson, the executive director of the association's New England office, told the Globe that was "disappointing news. I think it points to the need for the Massachusetts high-tech industry to work with the House, the Senate and the governor to promote a probusiness environment."
William T. Archey, The American Electronics Association's president and CEO, said, "While high-tech employment fell by eight percent last year, preliminary 2003 data show a significant slowdown in high-tech job losses, with a decline of four percent. We project that the 2003 high-tech job losses will total 234,000 -- down 57 percent from the 540,000 decline in 2002."
Archey said, "However, these declines have caused us to pause about two important issues. We are aware of current budget constraints, but now is not the time to cut back on education, particularly in math and science. We need a world-class workforce to deal with world-class challenges. Our second concern is the decline in basic research, particularly in technology, by the federal government. We worry that we have eaten the seed corn of federal research of 20 and 30 years ago that is not being replenished."
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