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U.S. IT Workforce Fell 5 Percent in 2001

It was about as bad as you thought last year.

A new survey from the Information Technology Association of America says that the number of employees in the U.S. IT workforce fell by almost 5 percent in 2001. But the results of the study show IT managers are optimistic that they'll be able to reduce the crush of work on their IT departments by hiring new people this year.

"This is obviously a good news/bad news report for IT workers," ITAA president Harris N. Miller said in a statement. "Revenue growth in the IT industry stalled in the past year, and now we know that IT employment has actually lost ground. We think the situation will be short lived, with employers filling positions they were forced to cut during the recession."

The U.S. IT workforce dropped by 500,000 employees from 10.4 million to 9.9 million people in 2001. Tech workers at IT companies were hit hardest. IT firms reduced their ranks by 15 percent, while non-IT firms issued pink slips to only 4 percent of their workers. The pain was shared fairly equally across all regions in the country, ITAA found.

But the ITAA found that hiring managers estimate they will attempt to fill 1.1 million positions in the next 12 months. A lack of qualified workers will mean that almost 600,000 of those positions will not be filled, ITAA estimates.

Among other findings, the ITAA study determined that while hiring managers continue to consider experience the best means of skill development, certifications rose in importance among the eight job categories measured.

The survey, called "Bouncing Back: Jobs, Skills and the Continuing Demand for IT Workers," is based on telephone interviews with 532 hiring managers.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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