But why then in this strong IT and Internet economy would employment among ISPs, search portals, and data processing firms dip to 386,400 month, down from 389,000 in October and 387,200 in November 2004? Simply, it's the way the government counts numbers. In reality, the number of people performing jobs providing Internet services, creating and maintaining search portals, and managing hosted computers are higher--probably significantly higher--than the government statistics suggest.
In determining payrolls, the government samples some 160,000 businesses and government agencies covering about 400,000 individual worksites. If the worksite primarily supports a service such as an Internet gateway--say an office of American Online--it would be counted as an ISP even though the company provides other services such as Web content. Americans are migrating away from old-style ISPs to broadband Internet services, mostly provided by cable TV and telecommunications companies. Though these communications providers have increased staffing to support their ISP services, their payroll increases are reflected in the broadcast, not Internet [ironic, isn't it?] category for cable TV companies and telecommunications for the telecom. That's the story behind the numbers.