This story was written by Keith Dawson for the Media Unspun email newsletter and is Copyright 2002 by Keith Dawson.
M E D I A   U N S P U N
Enough Doom and Gloom Already

Editors eager to deliver their readers some good news on the tech economy pounced en masse on a survey released yesterday by the Information Technology Association of America. Though the ITAA president spun the survey as a "good news/bad news report for IT workers," the fact that many outlets headlined the good news is telling. And while perfectly good wire coverage was available from Reuters and the AP, some editors assigned reporters to add some local perspective.

Bottom line: The IT industry contracted by over half a million jobs in 2001 as the industry shrank by 5%. Companies cut 15% of IT workers compared with 4% of other workers. The San Jose Mercury News's reporter found "evidence of even greater turmoil in the job market": 2.6 million people let go, 2.1 million hired. We should end 2002 about where we began 2001, the ITAA survey suggested -- business will try to hire 1.1 million workers this year and will succeed in adding about as many as were lost in 2001.

InternetNews tied this impending surplus of unfilled positions with the results of a survey by a Canadian sister organization to the ITAA. Canada has seen a shortage of tech jobs grow over the last year, but the ITAC's survey suggests that a surplus will return by year's end.

The Merc found little cheer for the Silicon Valley economy in the survey. Much of the rebound will occur in non-tech companies that employ tech workers, but the Bay Area is top-heavy with companies whose whole business is tech. The AP highlighted the ITAA survey's finding that tech jobs will be moving south, away from the West and the Midwest. Not to IBM, though. The Wall Street Journal and others noted that Big Blue's new CEO delivered a "dim outlook" that could lead to "big cuts."

The Washington Post's reporter bundled the story with that of a separate survey of IT workers' salaries, released last week by Information Week, concluding that tech workers' pay had dipped by 11% over the last year. The Post along with other outlets pinpointed the skill most in demand at companies looking for tech workers. The results will come as no surprise to recent job seekers, who probably have "C++, Java, Oracle" permanently ringing in their ears by now. - Keith Dawson

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