Over at the very useful ITBusinessEdge, writer Ann All has been doing lots of research and number crunching to answer two pivotal questions for anyone watching the IT employment market: How many lost jobs will come back, and which sectors are holding their IT salary levels steady? Her opening shot:

In the past, layoffs often preceded productivity increases and efficiency gains, which then led to hiring. But there's a growing concern that many jobs lost during this recession aren't coming back and that efficiency is seen as an alternative to hiring.

So, how many jobs will come back? Not many, All says, linking to lots of articles and research that points out how American corporations are fixated on applied research to improve short-term productivity while ignoring basic research that will take us to new technologies, products, services - and the jobs that go with them.

Which sectors have IT salaries that are holding steady? The experts deliver a diverse list that includes healthcare, government, energy/utilities, defense/aerospace, and education. Where are salaries dropping? You guessed it: manufacturing.
"Also, is it just me," All asks, "or does it concern anyone else that the only sectors seeing IT salary increases are those receiving government aid?" That's a touchy question that brings today's contentious politics into the mix. One more headache for everyone trying to puzzle out the right path to a prosperous future.

-- Don Willmott