The year-to-year comparison is even more dramatic. In March 2001, 9,533 dot-com workers lost jobs and 17,554 more joined the list the next month. Pink slips were given to 3,845 workers in the first four months of this year, compared with 51,564 by the end of April 2001. But the smaller numbers don't mean the picture is rosier for dot-coms in general.
"If you can't find paying customers, you can't stay in business--dot-com or not," says John Challenger, who heads up the firm. "We're in the midst of the next phase of the dot-com era," in which many companies have been weeded out, and "certain companies have found the pockets where online seems to work--like Amazon, eBay, and Travelocity."
Some who lost jobs in the fourth quarter as part of the fallout of Sept. 11 are considering taking a hiatus to spend more time with family as the emotional effect of the attacks continues. But will taking time off hurt how they're perceived by hiring managers?
Not necessarily, says Beverly Lieberman, president of Halbrecht Lieberman Associates, a recruiting firm for senior-level IT professionals. Taking a hiatus in summer won't hurt, especially for people who have skills that are in high demand. "By the end of summer, maybe [the job outlook] will improve."
But what about those who've been searching for a long time and are worried about how that will look on their resumés? "What will matter most is the kind of company you've been laid off from," she says. "If it's a major company, you may be suspect--but if it's a dot-com, the assumption is that you've just had bad luck."