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IBM's Free Lotus Symphony Beta 1

CMP Information Week
InformationWeek Daily - Wednesday, Sep 26, 2007

Editor's Note

Why Tech Jobs May Fare Better In A Recession This Time

Why sweat a recession? Because three-fourths of economists say there's a 30% chance or higher chance the U.S. economy will slip into recession, the Wall Street Journal reports , citing its poll of 52 economists. The economists overall peg the recession risk at 36%, up from 28% a month ago.

In the last recession, tech jobs were pounded. So here are some factors affecting the U.S. IT job market, and a theory on whether each would have better or worse impact on jobs than during the last downturn, which began in 2002.

Staffing levels: Heading into 2001, before the economic downturn, cutting the IT budget was almost out of the question. Just 5% in our annual Outlook survey planned cuts, while 72% planned increases. By 2003, just 40% planned increases and 25% planned cuts. Since then, companies have kept IT on a shorter leash: many CIOs have kept their IT budgets flat or close to it, delivering cost savings that offset the cost of new IT initiatives.

It's true that hiring has picked up, and U.S. IT employment is higher now than it has been this decade --3.58 million IT pros employed, based on second-quarter Bureau of Labor Statistics, compared with a previous high of 3.46 million in 2001 and a low of 3.29 million in 2004. In our just-published InformationWeek 500 research, 62% of those companies plan to increase spending, 23% to keep it flat, and 15% to decrease. Spending has edged up, but staffs haven't gotten fat. Impact: Better

Read the rest of my thoughts in the CIOs Uncensored blog.

Chris Murphy
[email protected]



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