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Good Economy? Tech Layoffs Are Up 293

Nerval's Lobster writes: If you look at the broad numbers produced by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the economy seems great, especially for the tech industry: The unemployment rate for tech pros currently stands at 2.1 percent, down from 2.3 percent in the first quarter. However, that dip isn't uniform for all sectors: The unemployment rate for Web developers climbed from 2.1 percent to 3.1 percent. Computer support specialists, network and systems administrators, computer & information systems managers, and database administrators also saw their respective unemployment rates rising slightly. Layoffs and discharges for the tech industry as a whole rose slightly in April and May (the latest months for which the BLS had numbers), to an average of 441,500 employees per month. That's higher than the first quarter, when layoffs and discharges averaged 424,300 per month. That's not to say we're on the verge of a collapse, bubble, or other economic shock, but it's definitely not great times for everybody.
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Good Economy? Tech Layoffs Are Up

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  • Good (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 07, 2015 @07:44AM (#50268099)

    The more computer geeks end in the streets the better. They deserve it. When they helped destroying the lives of entire families because computers and robots were taking the place of people, they laughed "you can't stop progress, candle-makers". Now it's them getting the short end of the stick and we're glad. You ever see any of those stupid nerds asking for change in the street, knife him in the guts.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anon-Admin ( 443764 )

      >>Now it's them getting the short end of the stick and we're glad.

      You are only glad tell you have to call for support on your new laptop. Wait on the phone for an hour to talk to someone you can barley understand in India. Then you bitch about the crappy support and outsourcing of jobs.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 07, 2015 @07:46AM (#50268109)
    Well, a lot of it is. So much stuff is plug and play these days, or is easily configured to the point that you don't really need to be an expert to do it that you need fewer and/or cheaper people - or you can have people in India do it remotely. Welcome to the 21st century, where you will reap what you have sown.
  • Perspective (Score:5, Insightful)

    by necro81 ( 917438 ) on Friday August 07, 2015 @07:51AM (#50268127) Journal
    We in the tech industry may be taking it for granted that, by and large, we can hopscotch from job to job however it suits us. In the broader U.S. economy, with official [bls.gov] unemployment still above 5%, underemployment around 11%, certain communities (such as poor, minority urban neighborhoods) well above that, and wages more or less flat or declining for the past decade, I would argue we should count our blessings. That also does not consider the situation in, say, most of the rest of the world, where the statistics paint a worse picture.

    In any event, the fluctuations in the unemployment rate and layoff figures month-to-month are pretty meaningless. You still like to have the granularity of month-to-month datapoints, but the broader trends are revealed only in longer timescales.
    • When the global birth rate and graduation rate is higher than the number of jobs required and/or needed, wages -which represents labor- will continue to go done all while debt of a fiat currency continues to climb. Eventually, total economic collapse....as we know it. Life will continue to go on, but a new system/paradigm will replace it IMHO.

      As yourself this: what happens when robotics and AI can supply all the world what it needs with only 1% of humans employed? Do the remaining 99% unemployed get a porti

      • Actually, when it gets close to collapse, the people in power will just start a BIG war. It has worked numerous times in the past, and will work again in the future. (Not a nice way to look at history, but if history has proven anything, it's that the people in power care nothing for your average citizen).
        • Actually, when it gets close to collapse, the people in power will just start a BIG war. It has worked numerous times in the past, and will work again in the future.

          That doesn't seem to be that good of a way of doing things. Suppose you had a global conflict, and maybe 200 million people die. That's less than 3% of the population, not really enough to make a huge dent. This doesn't include all of the people injured by a war, who now need medical help, etc, which costs even more. War is one of the worst things there is for the economy, unless you're an arms dealer.

          • War isn't initiated to reduce warm bodies, it serves primarily as a distraction to keep those in power, remaining in power.

          • War is one of the worst things there is for the economy, unless you're an arms dealer.

            Or a bank. Someone has to provide the funds for war, and nations have foolishly delegated their monetary systems to private banks.

      • When the global birth rate and graduation rate is higher than the number of jobs required and/or needed, wages -which represents labor- will continue to go down all while debt of a fiat currency continues to climb. Eventually, total economic collapse....as we know it. Life will continue to go on, but a new system/paradigm will replace it IMHO.

        This guy gets it.

    • We in the tech industry may be taking it for granted that, by and large, we can hopscotch from job to job however it suits us.

      Yes, that's an artifact of the fact that the tech industry feels that it can fail to provide workers with a future. The only way to move ahead in this industry, in many cases, is to switch jobs. And employers are ruthless about using you up and throwing you away - after many days of pulling too many hours, and needing a refractory period and seeing performance suffer as a result, they can just shitcan you for poor performance and hire some other poor fucker they will overwork and never pay properly.

      but the broader trends are revealed only in longer timescales.

      BOHICA

      • Yes, that's an artifact of the fact that the tech industry feels that it can fail to provide workers with a future.

        In no small part because we have politicians obsessed with the bottom line of corporations, as if a profitable corporation which is taking huge chunks out of the economy is somehow good for the rest of the economy. The reality is, it isn't.

        It's short sighted thinking that somehow equates corporate profits with national prosperity, when in fact it's transferring wages to the bottom line of corp

      • by Karlt1 ( 231423 )

        I can't speak for "tech workers" in general. But if you are a software developer with experience who is being overworked and underpaid, You're Doing It Wrong (TM)

  • by DNS-and-BIND ( 461968 ) on Friday August 07, 2015 @07:53AM (#50268133) Homepage
    Well, seeing as an unemployment rate of 3% or less is considered "full employment", this story is just another bullshit blown-out-of-proportion negative hit piece. Everyone gathers around to say it's so horrible, the government ought to do something, etc. I would ordinarily write this kind of crap off due to Slashdot's ridiculously bad editors, but in this case it seems it is another 'jobs' story required by Dice.com to add value to this website by helping to gather data. The article represents nothing but meaningless noise on a graph.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by drinkypoo ( 153816 )

      Well, seeing as an unemployment rate of 3% or less is considered "full employment", this story is just another bullshit blown-out-of-proportion negative hit piece.

      The published unemployment rates are a blatant lie, and I don't know how anyone is stupid enough to believe them any more. It's been well-established that they are a dirty lie. Why do we (by which I mean you) keep using them in arguments like they mean something?

      • by gfxguy ( 98788 )

        Well, seeing as an unemployment rate of 3% or less is considered "full employment", this story is just another bullshit blown-out-of-proportion negative hit piece.

        The published unemployment rates are a blatant lie, and I don't know how anyone is stupid enough to believe them any more. It's been well-established that they are a dirty lie. Why do we (by which I mean you) keep using them in arguments like they mean something?

        Because he's responding to the arguments presented in TFA?

      • by TheGratefulNet ( 143330 ) on Friday August 07, 2015 @11:58AM (#50269647)

        I've been out of work since january of this year. I am over 50, I have well over 25 years in C (c++ came later), I do hardware, firmware, networking.

        and yet, I can't get a job to save my life, almost literally.

        go ahead, I'm waiting; blame it on me. I didn't so this or that right, I should move to some bumfuck area of the country instead of the bay area, etc etc. yeah yeah, its all my fault. you 20 and 30somethings will surely know that I'm 'no good at coding' and so its all my fault.

        but I know what the real issue is. corporations are sociopathic led by people who have that 'feature' themselves. people are to be kept around just long enough but not longer. and if you are older, forget about getting fulltime (benefits, healthcare) as you will be told 'sorry, we only have 'contract to hire' for folks like you; and btw, that's a typo its really contract-to-FIRE).

        I know I'm not the most brilliant guy in the room, when I'm at a software company, but I also know that I'm never the dumbest and I can pull my weight, do my work and solve problems as good as anyone else. I'm no genius but even with over 30 yrs in tech, with a whos-who list of companies on my resume, I'm unhirable (it seems).

        there is MOST DEFINITELY something really wrong about our current tech employment 'style'. the eat-and-use-them-up (then fire them) mentality is hitting people like me, first and the hardest but you'll come next, don't worry too much about that! when its your time and you hit a certain age and experience level, expect to find all that I just explained HAPPENING TO YOU.

        I didn't believe it when older guys said that to me, 10 or 20 yrs ago. but now, well, I'm living it.

        employers suck and they've sucked more now than they have in the last 50 or even 75 years. only the turn of the century has been worse for workers than it is now.

        but hey, that ceo got himself a 2nd or 3rd boat. woohoo! I'm glad to be penniless and nearly homeless just so some ultra rich white guy can get even richer.

  • Meritocracy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by monkeyxpress ( 4016725 ) on Friday August 07, 2015 @08:00AM (#50268153)

    No, the reason there is increasing unemployment while also a shortage is because to become a tech worker you just have to collect a degree. To become a useful tech worker, you have to actually have some skills.

    Lots of people want to become tech workers because of the promise of a quick fortune. A limited number will have actual skills (but without the passion) and might find a comfortable niche where they can charge out banker sort of rates for their services. A small number won't have any tech skills but will recognise this early and move into management before they are found out. A much larger number aren't even smart enough to figure out how little they know and get stuck complaining until they eventually attach themselves to a clueless corporation awash with money.

    In the alternate world of people who work in tech because they enjoy it and can actually get things done, there is a huge shortage.

    • Totally agree. We've had an open developer position for some time that we can't seem to fill and we just canned a guy because of his incompetence. It seems that everyone who could type HTML was picked up and then companies started to realize just because you can type code, doesn't make you good at it.
      • by gfxguy ( 98788 )

        In the last department I was in the development team had exactly ONE CS graduate... me. The lead developer is a former math teacher; the secondary a biologist... they gravitated to programming because they enjoyed it and are now pretty successful at it. I moved to a different department to do graphics work (which I enjoy a lot more), but I don't think any of the people in that division were CS graduates.

        Why? Because the vast majority of CS graduates are exactly what you guys are describing - they went in

    • Re:Meritocracy (Score:4, Insightful)

      by pnutjam ( 523990 ) <slashdot.borowicz@org> on Friday August 07, 2015 @10:42AM (#50269035) Homepage Journal
      If companies were willing to invest in training the people who want to learn, instead of hiring the ones with the resume buzzwords, this would not be an issue.

      I've worked my way into a comfortable position, and I still feel my career is moving up, but it's been slow and I've only had one employer in the past decade who would pay anything for training. Two if you count my current employer, who has alot of internal training information, but I wouldn't work here if I wasn't already good at what they hired me for.
    • No, the reason there is increasing unemployment while also a shortage is because to become a tech worker you just have to collect a degree. To become a useful tech worker, you have to actually have some skills.

      Lots of people want to become tech workers because of the promise of a quick fortune. A limited number will have actual skills (but without the passion) and might find a comfortable niche where they can charge out banker sort of rates for their services. A small number won't have any tech skills but will recognise this early and move into management before they are found out. A much larger number aren't even smart enough to figure out how little they know and get stuck complaining until they eventually attach themselves to a clueless corporation awash with money.

      In the alternate world of people who work in tech because they enjoy it and can actually get things done, there is a huge shortage.

      That really is an alternate world, though. The number of people who have a passion for tech is much smaller than the number of positions that need filling, as you say. I would consider myself one of those who have actual skills but without the passion. I'm pretty good at what I do and I think computer systems are pretty neat, but I'm not spending my free time reading about protocols or contributing to OSS.

      I think we probably need more people like me (naturally!). What I mean is, passion can't be taught.

  • This sounds like normal shifting of the economic tides. Things change, and some people benefit and others have to find another path.
  • OMG! (Score:5, Funny)

    by TheCreeep ( 794716 ) on Friday August 07, 2015 @08:04AM (#50268171)
    So the news here is that absolute Web Developer unemployment went from 2.1% to 3.1% and tech layoff rose by ~5%. That is a fluctuation of 1 month! Oh noes! What will we do!? That is ONE MONTH you statistically challenged clod.

    And a summer month at that, when I assume new grads are coming into the market.

    Do you guys seriously have the gall to call that journalism?
    • Especially since the article explicitly shoes in it's little infographic that IT unemployment went down from 2.3 in Q1 to 2.1 in Q2.
  • by bigCstyle ( 2802795 ) on Friday August 07, 2015 @08:38AM (#50268347)
    I have a bridge with an ocean view to sell you. http://www.shadowstats.com/alt... [shadowstats.com]
  • I'm afraid that a great deal of "web development" has become automated over time and done by other personnel. It's often cheaper and far, far faster for most sites to reduce their toolkits to a few well supported technologies and stop hosting their own storage, their own DNS, their own mail servers, and yes, their own "web server" farmss. I've helped various partners and clients reduce their developer head count by a great deal by discarding the in-house, only one developer in their own team knows it, propr

  • by NotDrWho ( 3543773 ) on Friday August 07, 2015 @08:47AM (#50268371)

    "We just can't find American tech workers anymore," repeated Mark Zuckerberg to Congress. "And here are some big campaign donations to prove my point."

  • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Friday August 07, 2015 @09:10AM (#50268491)

    The unemployment rate for tech pros currently stands at 2.1 percent, down from 2.3 percent in the first quarter. However, that dip isn't uniform for all sectors: The unemployment rate for Web developers climbed from 2.1 percent to 3.1 percent.

    A 1% or less change pretty much amounts to statistical noise. It is meaningless. That is almost certainly well within the amount of normal variation we should expect over short time periods. Furthermore those unemployment figures are roughly half that of the 5-6% unemployment rate currently enjoyed by the overall economy. Basically a 2-3% unemployment rate is as close as you ever get to full employment. It doesn't get better than that.

  • What I'm finding is this:
    - Really good people with lots of experience are having an easy time finding work. (I get recruitment emails at least 2 or 3 times a week and haven't updated any of my resume/linkedin stuff in 3 years, nor have expressed any interest in a new job right now.)
    - Lower-skill people or those with less experience are really having difficulty, especially new grads.

    I attribute this to a couple of things. First, the nature of the work is changing somewhat, and companies are increasingly look

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