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Golden State's lead in job creation is melting

Report says California's big share of online postings for tech jobs fell in January, while Texas and Florida gained ground.

The Golden State's luster is fading as the top creator of tech jobs.

That's the implication of a new report, which shows that California's lead is slipping when it comes to new information technology jobs posted on major Internet job boards.

The report, slated to be released Wednesday by job search service NimbleCat, finds that the state's share of new IT jobs posted online fell from more than 28 percent in November to less than 25 percent in January.

Other sunny states are gaining ground, according to the report. Texas is now in second place, with roughly 6 percent of new IT jobs posted online. Florida also has made progress in recent months, to account for nearly 5 percent in January. The Sunshine State still trails California, Texas, Illinois, New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts.

Washington, D.C., was the metropolitan area with the largest share of new tech jobs in January, according to the report, followed by Long Beach, Calif.; Chicago; Boston; and San Jose, Calif.

The job market for IT professionals has been a mixed bag for much of the past year. The average number of unemployed workers in nine high-tech categories--including computer programmers, database administrators and computer hardware engineers--fell from 210,000 in 2003 to 146,000 in 2004, according to Department of Labor data. Nonetheless, more than 175,000 high-tech workers were laid off last year, according to a recent report.

What's more, salaries for technology professionals in the United States fell 2.6 percent in 2004 to an average of $67,800, according to a study from job board Dice. And the threat that tech work will be sent overseas remains real.

According to the new NimbleCat report, January's most popular technology-related listings were for engineers, project managers and managers.