Friday, September 26, 2008

Chrysler at it again

Here we go again, another round of layoffs. Different sources quote anywhere from 250-300 salaried workers, and another 450 contractors will be cut. This stemming for Chrysler's statement back in July that they planned to cut 1,000 jobs. Evidently they did not reach that number through early retirements and attrition, so today the balance of those workers will be involuntarily cut.

Monday, September 22, 2008

It's The Economy

It seem like the IT industry today is going through what the manufacturing sector experienced many years ago. A few decades ago the U.S. was the world's leading industrialized nation, and we couldn't make enough cars, machine tools, semiconductors... As other countries developed, much of that manufacturing base was shifted to foreign manufacturers as global competition increased. Now software services within IT seems to be in that cycle as well as the global economy becomes more diverse.

Look at the progression that the semiconductor industry has made with offshoring. In the 1960's assembly and packaging was sent offshore. In the 1980's they started moving fabrication offshore. In the early 2000's they started sending the actual design work to foreign countries. Software services are now done globally with teams spread around the world. All of this creates a lot of uncertainty in the IT job market today. More troubling though is that this is more of an overall economic issue than something specific to IT right now.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Michigan Jobs Report and IT Spending Report

Even though technology may be one of the least hard hit sectors in today's economy, that doesn't make it bullet proof either. As other industry sectors suffer, there's a natural fiscal prudence that trickles down to what companies in those suffering industries spend on IT initiatives. As you would expect, IT, like other major expenditures, get scrutinized and scaled back. The projects that are supported are typically those that are proven cost savers for the organizations. Here is an AP article about U.S. and European businesses cutting IT spending in 2008. It states that 43% of large companies in the U.S. and Europe have cut overall IT spending. My cynical mind makes me wonder if that actually means that 57% actually increased spending then. Probably not, as many companies will stand pat I'm sure, but the report did not dive into those details. It did state that they downwardly adjusted IT growth expectations for 2008 overall. Hopefully this means that there is nowhere to go but up for IT spending in 2009.

And this Manpower report talks specifically about Michigan jobs (not just IT). In Michigan, three percent of employers surveyed plan to cut staff in the 4th quarter, while nine percent of employers nationally surveyed plan to add staff. I'm not sure what to make of this as the 4th quarter typically gets slow for many jobs, including IT, at least the latter part of the quarter. But retailers have always added seasonal staff during that time. The bottom line here is that Michigan remains behind in overall jobs growth.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Tech Companies and the Jobs Report

This is from the Great Lakes IT Report and Associated Press last Friday after the Labor Department released the latest jobs report. Tech companies are better positioned than non-tech firms as umemployment and wages are actually up for the sector.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Number of IT Jobs Remains Low

That's new jobs, not overall jobs. It's kind of a supply and demand thing, as the volume of IT jobs remains rather stagnant. That doesn't mean there aren't plenty of people working in IT though. IT is still one of the higher employed job functions right now, but overall unemployment is at a four year high nationally. So if you work in IT and you see the doom and gloom surrounding the jobs reports right now, you probably feel like you should stay put instead of looking at new opportunities. The effect of this is that there are fewer IT jobs coming available as those positions are not turning over. Add that to employers approving fewer jobs overall, including IT, and the result is simply not very many IT jobs to pursue right now. So although the number if IT jobs is down, the number if IT applicants is down as well. As this article mentions, most workers feel this is a bad time to be looking for a good job, and over 90% of workers are still satisfied with their jobs. Reinforcing the theory that the people that are working are not looking to make a change. This will not improve until consumer confidence increases.