Kiwi IT jobs up while US high-tech jobs fall

Statistics New Zealand says the number of IT professionals employed in New Zealand has more than doubled since 1997 while in the US figures show half a million IT staff were laid off last year.

Statistics New Zealand says the number of IT professionals employed in New Zealand has more than doubled since 1997 while in the US figures show half a million IT staff were laid off last year.

The number of businesses in the "computer services" sector has increased by 6.9% since February last year, however the number of employees has risen to 24,000 effective full-time employees.

According to statistician Stu Pettigrew, that's the highest number of employees in the sector since 1997.

"We've really only got figures that go back that far but yes, it's certainly grown since then."

The computer services sector includes data processing, computer maintenance, consultancies and data storage but doesn't include computer retail or assembly.

"It also doesn't include the telecommunications sector - they're handled separately."

In the US the American Electronics Association study, Cyberstates 2003: A State-by-State Overview of the High-Technology Industry, says high-tech jobs in the US dropped from 6.5 million to 6 million last year and stands to lose another 234,000 jobs this year.

The AEA says employment in the electronics manufacturing industry fell by 13% with 233,000 jobs lost between 2001 and 2002. The largest losses between 2001 and 2002 were recorded in the electronic components sector, which lost 76,000 jobs; the communications equipment sector, which lost 47,000 positions; and the semiconductor sector, which lost 41,000 jobs.

According to the AEA, the communications services and software sectors lost 146,000 jobs last year, while engineering and technology services lost 15,000 jobs during the same period.

"While high-tech employment fell by 8% last year, preliminary 2003 data show a significant slowdown in high-tech job losses, with a decline of 4%," says AEA's CEO William Archey.

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