Obama says stimulus helps keep IT jobs onshore

Stimulus didn't have much apparent impact on tech spending last year

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The President said the last third of the stimulus will be spent "rebuilding our economy on a new and stronger foundation for growth over the long term."

He said the Recovery Act is on track to save or create another 1.5 million jobs this year.

The U.S. has lost about 200,000 IT jobs, from its peak of 4 million in November 2008.

Michael Balsam, the chief solutions officer at the Seattle-based Onvia Inc., which tracks government contract spending, said the majority of jobs created so far by the stimulus have been in the public sector, in occupations such as teaching and law enforcement.

But this year, Balsam expects to see more spending shift to the private sector, particularly on the infrastructure and foundational work needed for energy and health IT, and a lot of that will involve technology.

"As energy and health care spending picks up velocity you will see an impact on technology spending," Balsam said.

One aspect of the market for 2010 that has seen an improving outlook is offshore outsourcing. The Indian IT services firms have been hiring in expectation in demand from overseas clients.

Syntel Inc., a Troy Michigan-based firm that IT and knowledge process outsourcing firm that has most of its workforce overseas, is a company that expects the year to improve. Last week, it reported that its fourth quarter revenue increased to $117.8 million, up 12% from year-ago quarter and 12% sequentially.

"As we look forward into 2010, we are optimistic that demand for offshore services will continue to progress," Syntel Chairman Bharat Desai said in last week's announcement. "We anticipate that our clients' budgets will remain relatively flat in 2010, however we believe that a larger share of their spending will be allocated to offshore partners."

Patrick Thibodeau covers SaaS and enterprise applications, outsourcing, government IT policies, data centers and IT workforce issues for Computerworld. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @DCgov or subscribe to Patrick's RSS feed . His e-mail address is pthibodeau@computerworld.com.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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