Study: One-quarter of high-tech jobs lost from US in decade

Jan 18, 2012 By Corilyn Shropshire

More than a quarter of the nation's high-tech manufacturing jobs were lost in the past decade, according to a new government study.

The shed 28 percent, or 687,000 in high-tech sectors since reaching its peak of 2.5 million jobs in 2000, according to the study released Tuesday by the National Science Board, the policymaking body for the National Science Foundation.

High-tech took their first hit during the of 2001, suffering "substantial and permanent" job losses in sectors including , pharmaceuticals, , computer and office equipment and , the report said. By 2010, more than a quarter of the jobs were lost.

The job losses threaten America's competitive edge in , according to the report's authors.

"Other nations clearly recognize the economic and social benefits of investing in R&D and education, and they are challenging the United States' leadership position," said Jose-Marie Griffiths, chairperson of the National Science Board committee that oversees the production of the report. "We're seeing the result in the very real, and substantial loss of good jobs," she said in a statement.

The reports' authors would not cite specific reasons for the , noting only that "We don't have any data that says these jobs were outsourced," said Rolf Lehming, the program director for the report.

But one high-tech trade group said the decline has been a long time coming, blaming job loss on companies shifting to a lower cost production model that moved jobs overseas.

"It took years for this position to erode, and it'll take years to return," said Matthew Summy, president of the Illinois Science & Technology Coalition, an industry group that represents research and development interests at universities, federal laboratories and companies.

He thinks the U.S. can look forward to some high-tech manufacturing returning stateside because of the sophistication of the economy. "The U.S. has the research and development as well as the technical capacity to implement it in a way that few nations do," said Summy.

The biennial report, "Science and Engineering Indicators," noted that U.S.-based multinational firms are creating research and development jobs abroad at an "unprecedented rate.

Since 2004, about 85 percent of all research and development job growth has been in U.S. firms' foreign outposts. But there is no indication that the U.S. is consequently losing these research jobs. In fact, these jobs are growing in the U.S., albeit at a relatively modest rate and not as quickly as they are being generated abroad.

Among the other findings: The United States and Asia nearly matched their research and development expenditures, with the U.S. spending $400 billion in 2009 while Asia spent $399 billion.

The report also found that for the first time, China is outpacing the U.S. in global exports.

In the late nineties, the United States' share of global high-tech exports reached as high as 22 percent. By 2010, however, it had shrunk to 15 percent. At the same time, the report said China's high-tech exports nearly quadrupled, growing from 6 percent in 1995 to 22 percent in 2010.

Explore further: Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Report finds turnaround in tech industry

Apr 19, 2006

A new report found that 61,000 net jobs were added to the hi-tech industry for a total of 5.6 million tech jobs in 2005, indicating a turnaround in the industry, according to a trade association.

Tech offers relative job security, statistics show

Apr 01, 2009

Despite layoffs at tech stalwarts like Google, IBM, Microsoft and Electronic Arts, the impact of the recession on the tech industry is likely to be far less severe than on other areas of the economy, recent labor statistics ...

High-tech layoffs climb in first quarter

Apr 06, 2009

During the first three months of 2009 the high-tech sector in the U.S. suffered its deepest layoffs in seven years, according to a firm that tracks the jobs market.

'Green' job sector off to good start

Jun 11, 2009

THE CLEAN TECHNOLOGY SECTOR -- where the "green" jobs are found -- is very much in its infancy, but off to a "strong start," according to a first-of-its-kind report released Wednesday.

Recommended for you

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

8 hours ago

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

21 hours ago

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.

US venture investments highest since 2001 (Update)

Apr 18, 2014

Funding for U.S. startup companies soared 57 percent in the first quarter to a level not seen since 2001, as venture capitalists piled more money into a growing number of deals, according to a report due out Friday.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

GSwift7
3 / 5 (2) Jan 18, 2012
When are the people in Washington going to wake up and realize that encouraging American companies to outsource to foreign countries is BAD for everyone except the stockholders of the company in question?

We need to rethink NAFTA and similar arangements.

More news stories

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

People with accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the ...

A homemade solar lamp for developing countries

(Phys.org) —The solar lamp developed by the start-up LEDsafari is a more effective, safer, and less expensive form of illumination than the traditional oil lamp currently used by more than one billion people ...

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...