One way to evaluate improvement in the tech sector is not by new job creation but by a slowdown in job elimination. According to the latest report on technology sector job cuts released by outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, layoffs plummeted in the second half of 2010, from 174,629 in 2009 to 46,825 in 2010. Employers in IT, which includes computer, electronics, and telecommunications firms, announced 35,375 job cuts between January and the end of June 2010. From July through the end of the year, job cuts totaled 11,450, a 68 percent drop. There are no layoff fears at Google, at least for the moment. The behemoth announced this week that it added 4,500 "Googlers" in 2010 and is actively looking for more, across all talent areas. Some reports say Google will hire 6,000 people this year, plus another 1,000 in Europe. Was there anything in President Obama's State of the Union address that points to growth in the tech sector? In focusing on innovation, technology, and "winning the future" he certainly made strong points, but reconciling a long wish list with a five-year freeze on government spending levels leads observers to wonder how things will actually get done. Obama called for 100,000 new math, science and engineering teachers, 80 percemt clean energy consumption by 2035, more access to high-speed rail, and access to high-speed WiFi for 98 percent of all Americans. Note that some of these ideas were first floated as part of the 2009 economic stimulus plan. A fourth-quarter poll of 84 companies by the National Association for Business Economics found 42 percent expected to increase jobs in the next six months, up from 29 percent in the first quarter of 2010. As The Wall Street Journal explains, the U.S. economy has been growing for 18 months, but companies have been slow to hire. Now that's starting to change. All of the survey's four major industry sectors - goods-producing; services; finance, insurance and real estate; and transportation, utilities, information and communications - registered stronger demand as 2010 wound down. That news comes at the same time that Fortune magazine released is periodic list showing which of its "25 Best Companies to Work For" are hiring. Fortune say seach of the top 25 has at least 700 openings each, 137,000 available jobs. Another list, CRN's Data Center 100, ranks the most successful companies in the arenas of cloud hosting, virtual data centers, backup, and more. Upcoming Tech Events The Next Business Application Boom: Uncover A Secure SaaS Success Formula February 10, 1:00 PM ET - Online Savvy organizations have already incorporated software as a service (SaaS) and application store as a means of reshaping the business of designing, creating and deploying business applications. Join this interactive eSeminar to hear from industry experts how and why many organizations have already adopted the SaaS model to better align their business application portfolio with current business and market conditions. The 2011 MobileWorld Congress February 14-17 - Barcelona Mobile infrastructure is undergoing dynamic transformation with emerging technologies, new business models, new vertical markets and new players. The GSMA Mobile World Congress is the must-attend annual gathering of the mobile industry. Participants are 50,000 senior mobile leaders from 200 countries. Bringing Cloud Into Your Mainstream IT Environment: A Complimentary IDC Breakfast Briefing February 17, 8:00AM - New York City Cloud computing has the potential to disrupt IT operations, ROI, and sourcing strategies by changing the way business needs are provisioned, priced, and delivered. Vendors promise hyper-scale economics, radical improvements in business agility, and rapid transformation of data center environments. To realize those benefits, IT and business leaders need to reinvent governance and restructure IT purchasing and sourcing approaches. At this briefing, Frank Gens, IDC's Chief Analyst, will discuss key Cloud Computing predictions and key issues for 2011 and beyond. Forrester's Enterprise Architecture Forum 2011 February 17-18 - San Francisco Two roles are critical to break down the barriers between process, information, and technology: Enterprise architects, to connect business goals to information, application and technology strategy, and business process professionals, to find the opportunities to streamline and improve their operations. Forrester's Enterprise Architecture Forum 2011, through keynotes and four tracks of sessions, will provide an integrated understanding of business, information, and technology architecture - and the benefits possible when these domains are harnessed together. -- Don Willmott