Is Tech Layoff Activity Slowing or Isn't It?

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    "Fewer pink slips for techies" by Ed Frauenheim on ZDNet.com suggests by the title that layoffs for IT professionals are slowing down. Alas, the reader quickly realizes that he's citing a US Department of Labor report released Wednesday that actually is referring to all workers in "the information technology-producing industries." Technically speaking, they could be bookkeepers, line workers or front office folks who were laid off. The report doesn't specify stats by job classification. Also, the data refers only to companies in which 50 or more people were affected by the job cuts.

    The same article points out that a "new wave of mergers in the tech world is translating into thousands more job cuts." The author links to an article citing the 5,000 cuts made by Oracle after the PeopleSoft acquisition.

    Likewise, the offshoring of work gets a bit of attention. Mr. Frauenheim quotes Labor Department stats that 16,073 layoffs were associated with offshoring maneuvers last year, but these are across the board in all job categories. This represents about 3 percent of all "extended mass layoffs."

    Last, he quotes a Forrester Research analyst, John McCarthy, who argues that much offshore outsourcing activity probably involves job cuts of fewer than 50 workers.

    So, we're left with a wealth of data and few insights.

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