Tech firms' layoffs could hit a new low

July 20, 2011 at 3:52 PM   |   Comments

CHICAGO, July 20 (UPI) -- U.S. outplacement consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas said Wednesday that job cuts in the technology sector were headed toward a record low for 2011.

In the first half of 2011, job cuts among electronics, computer and telecommunications firms reached 14,308, a drop of 60 percent from January through June in 2010, when 35,375 technology jobs were lost, the firm said.

In the first two quarters of the year, job cuts in technology were up slightly from the final six months of 2010. However, "the overall health of the technology sector remains very strong," said Chief Executive Officer John Challenger in a statement.

"It is highly unlikely that planned layoffs in the second half of the year will be heavy enough for the year-end total to surpass last year's record low 46,825 job cuts," Challenger said.

In the first half of the year, computer firms led technology with a drop of 81 percent in job cuts. In hard numbers, computer firms cut 156,964 jobs in the first two quarters of 2010 and just 3,178 in the first two quarters of 2011.

The closest match to the computer industry is the pharmaceutical industry, which cut 86 percent fewer positions January through June compared with the same period of 2010.

Telecommunications firms cut 57 percent fewer positions the first six months of 2011 compared with the same period of 2010.

Among electronics firms, layoffs increased increased 79 percent from 2,406 a year ago January through June to 4,317 this year January through June. The figure, however, "is still very low by historical standards," Challenger, Gray & Christmas said.

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