Jan 26

There’s an old saying that, “In tough financial times, buy Procter & Gamble stock,” because people will always need toilet paper and laundry detergent.  In recent years this adage seemed to be true with tech companies, because in our new technology-dependent economy, companies will always need computer hardware and software.

But although the global recession took a while to reach Silicon Valley, it’s clear that tough times are in store for the tech industry as well.  This shouldn’t be a surprise, however.  Companies are shedding millions of jobs across the country.  New jobless claims hit 589,000 on January 17, matching a 26-year high reached four weeks ago.  As companies in other industries lose jobs, they find themselves with a glut of extra computers, so hardware spending slows to a crawl.  And as money becomes tight, companies will surely delay upgrades to Windows Vista even longer, many skipping Vista altogether while they wait for Windows 7.

In 2008, Silicon Valley seemed immune to the global financial crisis, losing only 11,700 jobs compared to the whopping 200,000 jobs lost after the dotcom implosion in 2000.  But the layoffs are just starting.  Microsoft is laying off 5,000 people, it’s first mass layoffs in the company’s 34-year history.  California’s jobless rate hit a 14-year high of 9.3 percent in December, significantly above the national average of 7.2 percent.  According to TechCrunch’s Layoff Tracker and other sources, here are some of the bigger layoffs in the tech industry:

Company Layoffs % of Workforce
Circuit City 34,000 100%
AT&T 12,000 4%
Dell 8,900 10%
Sony 8,000 4%
Sprint Nextel 8,000 14%
TDK 8,000 12%
Intel 7,800 8%
Philips 6,000 5%
Ericsson 5,000 6%
Microsoft 5,000 5%
Sun 5,000 15%
Motorola 4,000 6%
Xerox 3,000 5%
Lenovo 2,500 11%
Western Digital 2,500 5%
EMC 2,400 6%
eBay 1,500 10%
Yahoo 1,500 10%
Unisys 1,300 4%
AMD 1,100 9%
Seagate 800 10%
Autodesk 750 10%
Logitech 500 15%


The pain is not just with jobs.  Venture capital funding fell 71 percent in the fourth quarter 2008 compared to a year ago.  Expect to see small start-up companies drop like flies if they are not already profitable, as investors appear unwilling to fund them any longer.

And analysts say this is just the beginning.  Expect tens of thousands more people to lose their jobs this year as the recession forces companies to slash marketing and capital spending.

So a word to my programmer readers:  If you have a job, be sure to work harder and smarter in order to keep your job.  And if you’ve lost your job, prepare for a long, cold winter in the unemployment line.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Reddit
  • LinkedIn
  • Digg
  • DotNetKicks
  • StumbleUpon
  • Slashdot
  • Technorati
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Print
  • email

Article published on January 26, 2009

3 Responses to “Recession Slams Silicon Valley”

  1. Victor Velasquez Says:

    Ok, there is a recession, but I think the media is also doing its part by exaggerating the situation, so I think some companies are overreacting. I think there is a real recession but at the same time there is a reaction to the media.

  2. Nirav Says:

    Layoffs are ususally ‘lagging’ indicators of a recession versus ‘leading’ indicators. Historically layoffs have always occurred when the recession has peaked.

    So based on that one fact, its possible we could see layoffs slow down in Q2/Q3.

    Then again, the current unemployment rate is the largest in the past 26 years. So not exactly sure when we’ll see bottom.

  3. melatonintablets Says:

    the Economic Recession has been pretty hard on us. some of my friends lost their job because of the massive job cuts. i just hope that our economy becomes better in the following years.

Leave a Reply