Tech Job Loss Stanched in FebruaryBy Kathleen A. Martin | Print
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Technology companies laid off 33,000 workers in February, two-thirds less than the number displaced in January. The slowing pace of layoffs may signal optimism for an upward turn in economic activity.
February technology layoffs dropped more than 70 percent from January's record pace, with more than 33,000 technology jobs displaced.
Panasonic announced a cut of 15,000 employees, representing 5 percent of its total work force. "Business conditions have worsened particularly since last October," Panasonic said in a statement, "due mainly to the rapid appreciation of the yen, sluggish consumer spending worldwide and ever-intensified price competition."
Panasonic announced the proposed closing of 13 manufacturing sites in Japan and 14 others by the end of March 2010. The reduction of work force is expected to be completed at the same time with 50 percent of the job reductions taking place in Japan.
Another Japanese manufacturer, Pioneer, announced its departure from the flat television market and a slashing of 27 percent of its work force, roughly 10,000 people.
Pioneer launched the world's first plasma TV in 1997 and built up a valuable niche among high-end models. "It is extremely painful to give up a business we have built up as a pioneer in the industry," President Susumu Kotani told a news conference.
Pioneer announced the reduction of 6,000 regular employees and 4,000 temporary and contract staff. Those cuts will come on top of the 5,900 jobs it announced last March and December.
The slowing pace of layoffs is a reflection of how many companies are pausing for signs of future recovery in the economy. In January, major technology vendors shed nearly 125,000 jobs from their rolls. Overall, the U.S. economy gave up nearly 700,000 jobs in January, the highest money job loss in 27 years.
While the news continues to be grim for manufacturers, solution providers are offering an alternative and increasing their work forces. According to a recent Channel Insider survey, 40 percent of solution providers are either in the process of hiring new employees or plan to add to their work force in the second half of this year.
Frank Ballatore, CEO of New England Computer Group, has a caution for solution providers that are cutting staff right now. "This is temporary. We have seen cycles like this before, but if you have built your business around solutions and services, this is a great time to grow your business."
An astounding 67 percent of displaced sales and technical manufacturing employees responded that they are having success with both full-time and contract employment at solution providers.
"It has been a great change," wrote one respondent. "I work each day on a technology I know inside and out and can work directly in growing a company. This is something I could not do with the big guys."
Other respondents cited better working environments, opportunity for growth and working closer to home as the key reasons for joining a solution provider.
Since the economic crisis began in September, the technology industry has shed nearly 239,000 jobs. Following is a list of the latest technology layoffs as tracked by Channel Insider.
|Pentair Electronic Packaging||174|
|Xyratex International, Inc.||311|
|Month Total||Adobe Systems||600|
|13,095||Sage North America||150|
|Month Total||Spot Runner||115|
|Pillar Data Systems||150|