Tech jobs disappear at AIG -- and across the U.S.

As American International Group (AIG) paid out huge bonuses to executives, the company also laid off six information technology workers, according to reports in the local media.

Let's face it, a layoff of six tech workers, even at government bailout king AIG, doesn't normally get noticed outside of such media outlets, a Lubbock, Texas, newspaper in this case. Or to paraphrase what Humphrey Bogart's Rick Blaine told Ingrid Bergman's Ilsa Lund in the film, Casablanca, "it doesn't take much to see that the problems of three six little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world."

But the AIG layoffs serve as a reminder that IT workers nationally continue to see their jobs tank, according to data from the National Association of Computer Consultant Businesses, an Alexandria, Va.-based group that analyzes U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

IT employment in the U.S. fell by 17,000 jobs in February, ( Download PDF) or less than a half percent, an improvement over December, which saw a decline of 56,000 jobs, or 1.4%, and January, with job cuts of 46,000, or 1.15%.

IT employment, which peaked last November at more than 4 million jobs, now stands at 3,938,800.

As grim as these numbers may seem, IT workers at least in some areas, are doing better than most professions. Nationally, unemployment is at 8%, but the fourth quarter unemployment rate for computer hardware engineers is 1.4% and computer software engineers 1.9%, according to NACCB.

Nonetheless, NACCB is warning that things could get worse for IT if the overall economic climate continues to deteriorate.

One indicator is the number of job postings on the tech job site, Dice. In February, Dice said it had 57,000 job listings, down 35% from the year-ago period. A check today showed 54,000 job listings.

Everyone from President Barack Obama to Congress has been hyperventilating over the bonuses paid to AIG. AIG did not respond by press time to questions seeking the reasons for the IT cutbacks -- whether they were due to outsourcing, IT consolidation or simpy cost-cutting.


Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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