Employment in the Information Sector in March 2004

By Perrins, Gerald | Monthly Labor Review, September 2004 | Go to article overview

Employment in the Information Sector in March 2004


Perrins, Gerald, Monthly Labor Review


Employment in the information sector stood at 3,158,000 in the United States in March 2004, 1.7 percent less than the year before. (1) Nationwide, 56,000 jobs were lost over this 12-month period, continuing a trend of over-the-year declines that began in September 2001. (See chart 1.) Since the start of the most recent recession in March 2001, this industry sector has lost 555,000 jobs or approximately 1 out of every 7 positions. Nearly three-fourths of the monthly over-the-year losses in information since March 2001 occurred in the telecommunications (-276,300) and publishing (-127,300) industries. (Use of not seasonally adjusted data does not allow for over-the-month comparisons; accordingly, monthly analysis was based on the over-the-year change.)

[GRAPHIC OMITTED]

Information employment by State

Among the 14 States in the Nation in which information-sector employment exceeded 75,000, 11 reported over-the-year job decreases in March 2004, two (Georgia and North Carolina) were essentially unchanged, and only one (Washington) recorded an increase. (2) The largest over-the-year employment declines were in California (-16,800), followed by Texas (-7,100), and Massachusetts (-5,000). (See table 1.) These three States employed 1 out of every 4 workers in this industry. The largest over-the-year percentage declines in employment occurred in Massachusetts (-5.4 percent), followed by Colorado and California (-3.5 percent each), and Texas (-3.0 percent).

The only State to post an over-the-year employment increase in the information sector was Washington, which added 2,300 jobs between March 2003 and 2004, a gain of 2.5 percent. This was the third consecutive month that the State had more information jobs than a year earlier. Until these recent advances, Washington had registered over-the-year job declines in every month since July 2001. In the other 13 States, over-the-year job declines in the information sector have continued for lengthy periods, ranging from 30 to 36 consecutive months.

Among States with employment declines in the information industry, the telecommunications subsector was typically the hardest hit, with particularly heavy losses in California (-8,300), Texas (-6,100), and New York (-3,700). (See table 2.) Employment declines were also widespread in the publishing subsector, with five States (California, Massachusetts, Texas, Illinois, and Pennsylvania) recording declines of more than 1,000 jobs since last March. Other subsectors were highly concentrated; Florida and California, which have a large concentration of Internet service providers jobs, bore the brunt of this industry's losses--down 1,400 and 1,300 jobs, respectively. The de clines in these two States accounted for more than one-third of the over-the-year job losses in the Internet service providers industry nationwide. Despite the loss of 3,100 motion picture and sound recording jobs in California, this industry gained 9,000 jobs nationwide between March 2003 and 2004. Broadcasting was the only other information industry sector to add jobs over the year nationwide, up 6,500.

Employment in the information sector is not regionally concentrated, with those States with job counts exceeding 75,000 located in all four geographic regions of the country. (3) (See map.) Likewise, over-the-year employment declines in this industry extended to all regions of the country over the last 2 years. (See tables 3, 4, and 5 for changes during 2002, 2003, and 2004.)

Table 1. Employment change in the information sector, March 2003-04,
United States and selected States, not seasonally adjusted

[Numbers in thousands]

                    March    January    February
      Area          2003      2004        2004

United States      3,214.0   3,151.0   (1) 3155.0

   Northeast

  Massachusetts       93.0      88.6         88.4
  New Jersey         102.8      99.1         99.7
  New York           278. … 

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