Software services in the U.S. helped temper the overall sequential decline in technology jobs during the fourth quarter, allowing the industry to minimize jobs losses compared to the private sector, according to a TechAmerica report released late Monday.
Tech jobs, overall, dipped 0.6 percent, or by 38,000 positions, sequentially in the fourth quarter, while U.S. private sector jobs declined 1.3 percent during the same period, according to TechAmerica, a technology advocacy trade group.
"The tech sector weathered the storm longer and stronger than other parts of the economy," Phil Bond, TechAmerica president, said during a conference call to report the results.
Software services aided that performance by growing a modest 0.7 percent, or by 12,600 jobs, during the fourth quarter, compared with the previous quarter.
"Software services was the bright spot," said Josh James, TechAmerica's director of research and industry analysis, who also spoke during the conference call.
Other sectors, such as high-tech manufacturing and communications services continued to struggle, posting negative sequential job growth in the fourth quarter, according to the report.
And during 2008, the high tech industry posted a 1.3 percent net gain of 77,000 jobs, bringing total employment for the industry to 5.9 million workers. Despite the net gain in tech jobs last year, it was smaller than the previous year when 79,600 jobs were added to the technology landscape.
During the year, software services, in addition to engineering and tech services, posted job growth for the fifth straight year. But high-tech manufacturing and communications services posted a decline in job growth last year.
The communications sector posted a net decline in job growth, as the industry continued to consolidate, James said.
Communications sector lost 12,700 net jobs last year over the prior year, while high-tech manufacturing dropped 23,100 net jobs, compared with the previous year, according to the report.