Telecom Sector Shedding Jobs Big time

Crap! The sector that I put my soul into it from 1986 till early 2000, telecom sector is shedding jobs. Thank God I switched focus from telecom to Internet and social media once I left Yurie and started my first Internet company, Telezoo.  My heart still belongs to telecom though.  I’ve been doing my best to keep myself up-to-date with the latest innovation in the space 🙂

The telecommunications sector had 4,600 fewer jobs in May than in April, employing 929,500 positions in May. However, the year-over-year employment figures show a loss of 47,800 jobs since May 2009 – a nearly 4.9% increase, according to new U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Drilling down a little further, it appears that most of those job losses occurred in the wireline segment. From April 2009 to April 2010, 60,000 jobs were lost in the wireline category. (Those statistics lag a month behind the overall category segment so April statistics are the most recent available. Also, the figures are not seasonally adjusted.) In the wireless subsector, 200 jobs were lost from April 2009 to April 2010. The wireless sector accounted for 194,200 jobs in April 2010.

By State,

. California lost 7,700 jobs from April 2009 to April this year, now accounting for 105,500 people in the telecommunications sector.

. In Georgia, home to AT&T Corp., the Labor Bureau counted 50,700 jobs in April, down 500 from a year ago. The wireless sector in Georgia added 600 positions from April 2009 to April 2010, accounting for 10,900 jobs in April.

. In Kansas, home to Sprint Nextel Corp., 2,200 fewer telecom jobs are there today vs. one year ago. The bureau counted 19,600 telecom jobs in April.

. Two hundred jobs were added in the telecom sector in New Jersey, headquarters for Verizon Communications Inc. and Verizon Wireless, from April 2009 to April 2010. The state had 37,300 telecom jobs in April.

. A total of 88,800 telecom jobs were counted in the redneck State, Texas in April, down 5,100 from a year ago. These unemployment figures are not seasonally adjusted so a year-to-year comparison is more accurate than a month-to-month comparison, noted Cheryl Abbot, a regional economist in the U.S. Labor Bureau’s Texas office.

Year over year, telecom unemployment is up, from 7.2% to 7.9% this May, although the month-to-month unemployment rate is trending down, from 8.7% to 7.9%. Thirteen mass layoff events took place in April, and 1,188 initial claimants filed unemployment claims in the telecom sector, according to Labor Bureau statistics. Again, while the month-to-month figures can bring some insight into trends in the sector, they are not seasonally adjusted and so not as accurate. Abbot also explained another reason the telecom sector could have lost jobs from April to May but also show a decline in the unemployment rate: The bureau only counts the number of unemployed persons who are actively looking for jobs. So if a person has been unemployed and not looked for a job for several months, they are not included in statistics because to be classified as unemployed, a person has to be actively seeking a job. Sometimes, when people see the economy starting to improve, they begin to seek employment again and therefore can be considered “unemployed.”

Computer sector

The computer and electronics products sector saw 2,800 jobs added from April to May, with 1,500 people added in the communications equipment subsector and 1,200 jobs added in the semiconductors and electronic components category. Computer equipment and peripherals saw 700 jobs added but there were 300 fewer jobs in electronic instruments category from month to month. The Labor Bureau counted 1.096 million jobs in the computer and electronics sector in May.

Unemployment in the computer and electronics products sector trended downward from an April unemployment rate of 10.4% to 7.2% in May, while the year-over-year unemployment rate dropped even more significantly, from 15.4% in May 2009 to 7.2% last month. Nevertheless, the number of jobs in the sector was down from April 2009 to April 2010. A total of 1.144 million jobs were counted in the sector in April 2009, compared to 1.096 million this year.

Overall, the nation’s nonfarm payroll employment grew by 431,000 in May, mostly due to 411,000 temporary employees hired to work on Census 2010.

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About Elias Shams
I have been a serial entrepreneur in telecom and social media space for past 12 years or so. I hold a M.S. degree in Telecommunication Engineering from the George Washington University and a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland. I’ve lived and worked in many countries and cities including London England, Tehran Iran, Bonn Germany, Paris France, Alicante Spain, Delhi India, and my favorite of all Washington, DC of great US of A. Two of the greatest Washington, DC based companies I worked for and very proud of are Yurie Systems which was sold to Lucent in 1998 for $1.23 B and that I founded in 1999. I am currently the founder and awesomizer @

6 Responses to Telecom Sector Shedding Jobs Big time

  1. Mitch Carr says:


    Let’s keep things in perspective here. Sprint sheds between 5,000 and 8,000 jobs each year. This is nothing new except to those who haven’t worked there yet. In fact some folks in Kansas get laid off and rehired routinely since they pick up their seniority when they are re-hired. Sprint is the only company I know that pays their best people an incentive called a Voluntary Severance Package to leave the company. All they do is wait the mandatory 12 months and come back. Last year Sprint laid off 8,000 in two waves.

    Another thing to know about Sprint is that they are intentionally shedding jobs in Reston. M2M is the new big wave in wireless telecom and Nextel was very strong in this area. Last year when Sprint decided to build an entirely new department devoted to M2M, they built it in Kansas blocking all Reston employees from applying for the positions they had held for years. The company line was that they were “building a presence in Kansas”. There are few, if any M2M SMEs left in Reston at Sprint.

    Having said that, the cable MSOs are hiring in wireless telecom like crazy. Time Warner Cable has many open slots in Reston as does Comcast in Philly. Cable MSOs believe you go to the utilities for gas, water and electricity and them for everything else. It is working.


  2. Elias Shams says:

    Thanks for pointing them out.

  3. My son the first year University student, my daughter the teacher, my first-born, the successful ‘rock band’ – media publisher – property manager, my hardworking, multi-tasking genius daughter in global supply chain management and my wealthy retired friends and so much more are like myself and you Mr. Shams – up to our eyebrows standing at the leading edge of a NEW WORLD a WORLD OF ‘MULTI” ……multi everything. Multi-level, multi-platform, multi-functional. A world, Mr. Shams, where we each need to know multi too……and, this is more important – where we will all have everything that is ONE THING. It is coming now and speeding up.

    Please be sure to keep all the old hats dusted off and ready for use – you will need them.

  4. I saw this on your sight yesterday and sent it out. Keep up the good work!

  5. I will in part, have to disagree with the above. The article spoke mainly to the lost of jobs in the Telecomm wire line/ land line side – which should be no big surprise. The FCC required Sprint to spin off it’s landline business when it bought Nextel – That spin off has been acquired twice in five years – both times causing layoff. Sprint is in the wireless business – their job shedding is based on cutting job redundancy and in an attempt to be profitable as the wheels have come off the bus.
    Sprint bought Nextel – Mistake #1, the old iden network was held together with silver duct tape. Sprint dissolved the Nextel name mistake #2 – Nextel had a very loyal blue collar base which did not understand the change. Mistakes #3 thru #7 where the re-banding, customer care, internal billing systems, the attempt to merge iden and CDMA (Q chat??) . #8 and #9 were both handset driven – the managements pass on the exclusivitivity of the iphone ( nice vision by Ralph at AT&T) and the lack of iden blackberries.

    As far as Reston – Sprint has been in Kansas City for over 17 years and has a Corperate headquaters the size of a college campus with lots of space. Reston was the old Nextel HQ, Sprint is mostly like trying to shed the remaining iden folks ( many who were infamous for working only 4 days a week).

    Sprint does not allow you to keep your seniority if you take the VSP — and honestly if are worth your salt you do not want to go back.

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