US technical employment falls by more than 220,000 workers from 2000 to 2004


WASHINGTON (3 March 2005) -- The number of employed U.S. technical workers has fallen by 221,000 in six major computer and engineering job classifications from 2000 to 2004, according to data compiled by the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The largest drops occurred among computer programmers, followed by electrical and electronics engineers, then computer scientists and systems analysts. These declines were offset by substantial employment increases for computer and information systems managers, computer hardware engineers and computer software engineers.

"The drop in computer programmers and rise in managers reflects the trend toward offshoring of programming jobs and the resulting need for professionals to manage outsourced projects," IEEE-USA President Gerard A. Alphonse said.

According to the BLS, computer programmers have taken the biggest hit, with a drop of more than 24 percent -- from 745,000 in 2000 to 564,000 in 2004. In addition, the number of employed electrical and electronics engineers shrunk by 101,000, from 444,000 in 2000 to 343,000 last year, a decrease of nearly 23 percent. Computer scientists and systems analysts have experienced similar losses, dropping more than 16 percent, from 835,000 in 2000 to 700,000 in 2004.

However, employed computer and information systems managers have jumped from 228,000 in 2000 to 337,000 last year, a dramatic increase of almost 48 percent. Computer hardware engineers rose from 83,000 in 2000 to 96,000 in 2004, a nearly 16 percent increase. Employed computer software engineers have risen by 74,000, from 739,000 in 2000 to 813,000 in 2004, a 10 percent increase.

The table below summarizes the BLS data:

Job Classification 2000 2004 Change Pct.
Computer Hardware Engineers 83,000 96,000 +13,000 +15.7
Computer & Info. Systems Managers 228,000 337,000 +109,000 +47.8
Computer Programmers 745,000 564,000 -181,000 -24.3
Computer Scientists & Systems Analysts 835,000 700,000 -135,000 -16.2
Computer Software Engineers 739,000 813,000 +74,000 +10.0
Electrical & Electronics Engineers 444,000 343,000 -101,000 -22.7
Total 3,074,000 2,853,000 -221,000 -7.2

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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