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Survey: Techies feeling more bullish

IT workers' confidence in the job market rose this month amid greater job satisfaction, according to a staffing company report.

Technology workers are walking with more spring in their step this month, according to a new study.

Staffing firm Hudson said its index of information technology workers' confidence in the employment market rose in March amid greater job satisfaction, increased optimism about personal finances and a drop in anticipated layoff activity. Nineteen percent of IT employees surveyed said they were expecting layoff activity from their firms, compared with 21 percent in February, according to the report, which was released Wednesday.

The improved job confidence among workers in the tech sector contrasted with a slight dip in Hudson's index for workers overall in the United States.

A number of sunny reports about the technology job scene have emerged in recent months. For example, a recent report showed that more than 74 percent of 619 wireless industry professionals rated the current job market as "strong" or "growing."

In addition, 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 U.S. Department of Labor data.

But not all the developments have been upbeat. A wave of mergers in the industry, such as the Oracle-PeopleSoft deal, is resulting in thousands of job cuts. In addition, tech professionals face the possibility that their jobs could be sent to a lower-wage nation such as India or China. The automation of technology tasks is also a feared threat.

Hudson said its employment index for IT industry workers rose 8.8 points in March to 111.8, while the national index edged down 0.8 points to 101.2.

The employment index, calculated from survey questions covering work and personal-finance issues, is designed to measure U.S. workers' confidence in the employment market. It examines sectors such as IT, healthcare and manufacturing, and is based on surveys of about 9,000 U.S. workers. Hudson assigned a base number of 100 for its December 2003 survey.