125,000 Tech Jobs Lost in January

By Kathleen A. Martin  |  Print this article Print

In the last four months, technology companies have shed more than 200,000 jobs -- most eliminated in the last month alone. Vendors such as Microsoft, Intel, NEC, Hitachi and even Google top the list of companies cutting jobs.

Since the beginning of the year, technology vendors have eliminated more than 124,000 jobs as weak earnings and dismal revenue forecasts force companies into conservative, constricted postures. This makes January the worst month of job losses since the recession began.

In the four months Channel Insider has been tracking technology job losses, nearly 205,000 technology jobs have been eliminated under the weight of the contracting economy.

Hitachi—a Japan-based company—announced its expectations to post a full-year net loss of $7.8 billion (700 billion yen), compared with a previous forecast of 15 billion yen. Hitachi, which makes everything from flat-screen televisions to high-end storage systems to power systems, said it will cut 7,000 jobs, reduce costs and freeze capital expenses.

NEC Corp., a computer-system and chip maker, is forecasting a net loss for the fiscal year ending March, stated it will cut 20,000 jobs over the next 12 months.  In a press conference announcing the work force reduction, NEC President Kaoru Yano said the company will "consider any possible measures" to restore its ailing semiconductor operations to health.

Showing pressure from the weak economy and migration of customers to cloud-based application services, Microsoft revealed plans to eliminate more than 5,000 jobs over the next 18 months. CEO Steve Ballmer said most of the reductions will come from eliminating redundant positions. Though a painful move, Ballmer and other Microsoft officials said the job cuts are necessary to align the company for future opportunities.

January has been the single largest month for layoff announcements globally, with technology jobs representing 16 percent of the total numbers.

The largest source of tech job cuts comes from electronics retailer and service provider Circuit City, which is liquidating and going out of business after failing to restructure its debt. As a result, 34,000 full- and part-time employees will lose their jobs when the company’s remaining 567 stores close.

Even some of the strongest brands in the technology market are cutting jobs either after reporting losses or adjusting to anticipated market pressures. Ericsson, Google, Intel, Philips and Sprint/Nextel will each cut 5,000 or more full-time and contractor positions.

The global technology cuts are going deeper than in previous recessions.  Japanese technology companies are reporting earnings with expectations to lose more than 1.5 trillion yen in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2009. These companies have announced plans to cut a total of nearly 50,000 full-time and temporary jobs in locations around the world.

Technology manufacturers are hitting the brakes hard. Previously, the Japanese government announced that preliminary industrial production fell 9.6 percent in December from a month ago and further stated it expects sharp declines to continue into 2009. Exports reports show a record 35 percent reduction year over year in December.

The following is a list of technology companies that have either eliminated jobs or slated jobs for elimination, as tracked by Channel Insider.




Month TotalAOL700
 Circuit City34,000
 Electronic Arts600
 Google (contractors)5,000
 Texas Instruments3,400
Month TotalAdobe Systems600
13,095Sage North America150
 Lexmark International80
Month TotalSpot Runner115
21,433Nortel Networks1,300
 Circuit City3,400
 Applied Materials1,800
 National Semiconductor330
 Sun Microsystems6,000
 Pillar Data Systems150
 Lawson Software200
 Lam Research600
Month TotalQimonda3,000
46,281Jive Software40
 Sony Ericsson2,000
 MPC Computers200
 Texas Instruments300
 Manhattan Associates150
 ADC Telecoms325