According to a report just released by outplacement firm Challenger, Gray, and Christmas, planned job cuts announced by the U.S. technology sector totaled 84,217 in the first quarter, nearly five times higher than the 17,345 cuts announced during the same period a year ago. Other news from the report:

  • Forrester Research said it expects information technology spending to drop by 3.1 percent this year, a projection much higher than its initial one of a 1.6 percent decline.
  • Some notable technology firms announcing pay cuts in the first quarter included AMD, Seagate, Hewlett-Packard, and Motorola. Yahoo instituted pay freezes, and other companies are suspending contributions to 401(k) plans.
  • There may be an increase in mergers among tech firms. (The IBM and Sun Microsystems‘ prospective merger fell through, but if it had happened, it could have resulted in the elimination of close to 1,000 redundant positions.)
  • So far in 2009, only 1,360 merger-related job cuts have been announced by tech firms, and those were isolated to the telecommunications industry. In 2008, technology-sector mergers resulted in 31,313 job cuts.