Yes, the economy stinks. The U.S. unemployment rate hit 6.1 percent last month, its highest level in five years, reports The New York Times. It's not exactly comforting when one presidential candidate's top economic adviser says, "We should be prepared for the worst."
And sadly, the tech industry isn't impervious. On Friday, I wrote about yet another survey, this one from CIO.com, that shows tech executives in a decidedly cautious mood when it comes to spending and staffing levels. Still, tech companies do seem to be weathering the stormy economic times better than those in other industries. At this point, according to an Associated Press story published on SFGate.com, most tech companies are experiencing slowing growth rather than actual declines in business.
Tech companies usually respond to such conditions by cutting contractors and equipment before cutting staff, says Forrester Research analyst Andrew Bartels. Microsoft closed out its fiscal year in June having hired 11,000 new employees, the most in its 33-year history, notes the article. Even Yahoo, which fired more than 1,000 workers in February, has since added employees to bring its staffing nearly back to its pre-layoff levels.
The article mentions several factors that appear to be helping tech companies ride out the tough times, including thriving business overseas and products that help other companies cut costs and are thus popular in recessionary conditions, both of which I mentioned in a blog post from March.
Still, there's no question that conditions aren't looking quite as rosy for tech pros as they were last year.