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Jobless rate jumps for U.S. EEs, electronics workers

Posted: 12 Jul 2002 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:electrical engineering? electrical engineer? electronics worker? unemployment rate? us labor department?

Thirty-four thousand electrical engineers in the United States were unemployed in the second quarter of this year, raising the profession's unemployment rate to 4.8 percent, up from 4.1 percent in the first quarter, according to statistics released by the U.S. Labor Department.

That is higher than the 4.0 percent unemployment rate for all engineers in the second quarter, when 85,000 engineers were out of work, up from 3.6 percent in the first quarter, when 79,000 engineers were out of work, according to Labor Department figures.

The second-quarter figures may not fully reflect of the current state of engineering unemployment, observers said. Layoffs announced in recent weeks by giants such as Motorola, WorldCom and IBM all involved engineers, the companies said. That means the unemployment rate for EEs could move higher later this year after those engineers become eligible for unemployment assistance.

IEEE-USA, an engineering association, said it plans to make a statement to raise awareness among lawmakers about the growing number of jobless engineers.

The U.S. Labor Department also recorded a higher jobless rate for all workers in electronics-related industries for June 2002. In the electrical machinery, equipment and supplies industry, unemployment reached 8.3 percent in June, up from 7.5 percent a year ago.

Unemployment in communications and other public utilities rose to 5.8 percent, from 3.1 percent in June 2001. Meanwhile, unemployment among machinery and computer equipment industry workers rose to 8.9 percent, from 4.3 percent one year ago. Workers in the automotive industry experienced 4.4 percent unemployment, up from 3.4 percent in June 2001.

Margaret Quan

EE Times

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