MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The high-tech job slump has hit the Twin Cities harder than the national average, a local executive says.
"This market is going to take longer to rebound," said Nick Doty, editorial director of Techies.com, an Edina-based company that provides online job listings for tech companies.
The metropolitan area and state don't have a significant number of pure technology companies. But demand for tech workers within other companies has also slowed.
The damage to the Twin Cities, however, isn't nearly as bad as in California's Silicon Valley, the nation's largest technology center. Unemployment hit 7.4 percent in that region this spring, compared to 1.3 percent at the end of 2000.
But in Minnesota, the number of people employed in computer and data processing has declined every month from June 2001 to April compared to a year earlier, according to state figures.
"The IT sector is still very weak," said Jay Mousa, research director of the Minnesota Department of Economic Security. Unemployment insurance claims in computer occupations were 51 percent higher in April than a year earlier.
The outlook for the short run seems dim, if recruiting is any measure.
Only 16 companies participated in a job fair at the University of Minnesota's Institute of Technology in January, compared to 90 two years ago. "There isn't a glut of computer science people. There is a lack of hiring going on," said Sharon Kurtt, the institute's career services director.
As job possibilities have thinned out, salaries for tech workers have dropped.
One Twin Cities company recently was offering to pay $27,000 a year less for a chief information officer position than it did a for the same position a year ago.
People with experience in wireless applications and security skills are in highest demand. People who have traditional Web-based skills are also still in demand.
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