Report: Fewer Dot-Com Layoffs in November

The number of dot-com job losses fell to 2,901 in November, continuing a downward trend that began last summer, according to a report released Friday by Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

The November losses are 40 percent below the level of Internet jobs cuts during October, when 4,840 positions were slashed, and 67 percent below the nearly 9,000 jobs cut during the same month in 2000.

Unlike recent months, when online travel and other sectors hit hard by the September 11th terrorist attacks laid off large numbers of workers, the November cuts were more diffuse.

“No single sector saw devastating cuts in November,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of the Chicago, Illinois-based executive placement firm. “The technology sector had significant job cuts, but that is a trend that has been evident for quite some time.”

In fact, the technology sector, which includes software firms that support e-commerce, led all dot-com cuts with 1,614 layoffs.

Yahoo! to You

Portals ranked second, with 400 job cuts, all of them directly tied to cutbacks announced on November 16th by Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO).

Challenger recorded 100 job cuts in the online retail sector, 348 in financial services, 291 in online media, 113 in consumer services and 35 in the online healthcare field.

In fact, Yahoo! had the distinction of being the only major Internet player to lay off a large number of workers in November. By comparison, Monster.com, Travelocity (Nasdaq: TVLY), PurchasePro (Nasdaq: PPRO) and CommerceOne (Nasdaq: CMRC) all cut workers in October.

Big Year

The job loss tide has stemmed since a deluge early in 2001. Cuts peaked in April, when more than 17,000 layoffs were recorded, and have been falling steadily since, with one exception: Layoffs spiked in October as companies reassessed their outlooks following the terrorist attacks on the United States.

While the trends are good, the numbers continue to pile up. So far this year, 98,522 jobs have been lost in dot-com sectors, more than double the number of cuts made during 2000, when 41,515 positions were eliminated.

Challenger said it is likely that by the end of the year, 100,000 dot-com workers will have been shown the door.

“Dot-coms are still being affected by loss of online advertisingrevenue and the hesitancy of financial backers, making this industry all the more tenuous,” Challenger said.

Finding Bottom

But like other analysts, Challenger remained optimistic that e-commerce and other dot-com sectors will get a fourth-quarter shot in the arm.

“It is hoped that the holiday season will provide a much needed boost to this struggling sector,” he said. “Due to terrorism concerns, more holiday shoppers may decide to stay at home this year and increase online shopping.”

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