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Study Finds IT Will Drive Economic Recovery

Microsoft-sponsored IDC study shows the technology sector -- and Microsoft -- leading the economy out of the doldrums.

A Microsoft-sponsored IDC study in October predicted relatively healthy employment prospects for skilled IT labor over the next four years, largely driven by the so-called "Microsoft ecosystem." That ecosystem consists of Microsoft and its partners, as well as the various IT professionals working with Microsoft products.

Microsoft is responsible -- directly or indirectly through its partners -- for the employment of 6.1 million people worldwide, according to "Aid to Recovery: The Economic Impact of IT, Software, and the Microsoft Ecosystem on the Global Economy," which tracked the economic effects of Microsoft's software across 52 countries.

The Microsoft ecosystem becomes even larger when 8.8 million IT professionals who work with Microsoft software are added to that 6.1 million figure. IDC estimates that a total of 14.9 million IT pros are involved with Microsoft software, or "42 percent of the people working in the IT industry."

The report didn't specify to what degree Microsoft would increase employment over the next four years. Microsoft's last fiscal year actually saw direct job cuts at the company, with 5,000 Microsoft employees scheduled for termination.

Overall, the IDC study expects that IT employment will grow by three percent per year through 2013, adding 5.8 million jobs, "which is more than three times faster than the growth of total employment," the study explains.

Such a rosy IT-jobs estimate contrasts sharply with the general employment picture in the United States, as recently described by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Since the start of the recession in December 2007, the number of unemployed persons has increased by 7.6 million to 15.1 million, and the unemployment rate has doubled to 9.8 percent," the Bureau announced in early October.

Microsoft famously relies on its partners to sell and support its software. The formula, according to IDC's report, is that for every dollar that Microsoft will make in 2009, the Microsoft ecosystem will, in turn, get $8.70. Moreover, the Microsoft ecosystem will generate nearly $537 billion in revenues this year, according to the report.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is online news editor for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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