This morning’s news about the latest unemployment statistics was dismal and quite sobering. The U.S. has lost 5 million jobs in the past 16 months, and the unemployment rate has hit a 25 year high, reaching 8.5%. Our own TechCrunch layoff tracker reports nearly 320,000 tech jobs lost since August. While jobs are being shed at an unprecedented rate, job listings are also being affected, both in tech and general employment sectors.
Tech jobs site Dice.com is reporting a 45% year over year drop in available technology jobs for March, continuing the drought of tech jobs in the economic downturn. This drop, as reported by Thomas Weisel Partners, is the highest annual drop Dice has seen so far this year, with February’s listings down 40.4% and January’s jobs down 39.3% (all year over year). In 1Q09, available tech jobs declined 41.4% year over year on Dice.com. Monster.com reports a 27% decline for Q12009 from last year, indicating that perhaps tech jobs are being hit harder than general job listings. And it seems that jobs hit an all time low in 1Q09, job listings declined 22% in 4Q09.
Dice said that of the ten reported metropolitan areas, Silicon Valley was hit worst, with available tech jobs down 57.7% year over year. Chicago (down 55.3% y/y) and Boston (down 55.3% y/y) also posted large declines. The Conference Board’s Online Help-wanted Index suggests that monthly job demand dropped 100K in March, down 31% year over year.
Our own job site, CrunchBoard, has also seen a sharp decline in available tech jobs over the past three months. A little over year ago 100 – 120 job listings were added to CrunchBoard each month. The number of new listings gradually declined with the onset of the recession and then fell significantly in November 2008, dropping from 68 to 37 listings from the month before. The listings rose slightly over the next few months, with February’s listings hovering around 60. Even though CrunchBoard’s listings don’t meet the magnitude of Dice’s or Monster’s listings database, this decline in available tech jobs is alarming.
It’s still not clear if the worst is over when it comes to layoffs and available jobs. Tech companies are continuing to shed jobs and even those companies which appeared to be immune to massive layoffs a few months ago, like Google, have succumbed to letting people go in the wake of the recession. There’s no doubt that the tech industry has been hit hard across the board. But the tech sector survived through the burst of the bubble a while back, and has proven to be resilient even in the most challenging of times.