10 March 2003 So many IT workers have lost their jobs in Silicon Valley, the epicentre of the IT revolution, that it could take more than a decade of strong growth before the economy fully recovers.
New figures released by the California Department of Finance show that 175,000 jobs — about 16% of all jobs in Santa Clara County, the heart of the Valley — were lost between 2000 and 2002. For San Francisco and Silicon Valley as a whole, the job losses added up to 275,400 or 13% of the total, excluding farming, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.
Workers and executives in Silicon Valley have been noting for the past two years how much less traffic there is on the roads around the major technology centres. But this is the first time that official figures have quantified the scale of the job losses. In the great depression of the 1930s, about 25% of workers in the area lost their jobs.
The figures show that the employment levels in Silicon Valley are now back to the same level as 1996, before the Internet revolution started to accelerate. Analysts are still forecasting further consolidation and job losses in the IT sector for 2003.