The private-sector computer systems design industry was hit hard by the recession – no, not the Great Recession, the one before it. Remember the high-tech recession of 2001? Oregon's computer system design industry shed more than 3,000 jobs from 2001 to 2003, nearly 30 percent of its workforce. Some of the job losses were due to the loss of entire firms; the number of business units in the industry fell from 1,437 in 2001 to 1,283 in 2003, a drop of 10 percent.
After the bursting of the tech bubble in 2001, the real need for the industry quickly resumed and growth continued much as it had before the bubble. The average long-run growth of employment in the industry from 1990 through 2015 was 6 percent per year. This is the industry that writes the software that runs computers, designs the integration of software and hardware, and operates data processing facilities, so it is natural that its growth will parallel our increasing use of computers.
The Great Recession, which resulted in Oregon job losses totaling 8.5 percent from early 2008 to early 2010, led to only modest job losses in the computer systems design industry. Annual average employment fell by only 100 jobs in 2009, from 9,700 in 2008 to 9,600 in 2009. Growth resumed in 2010. The industry has added 5,600 jobs since its low point in 2009, an increase of 60 percent, and employment stood at 14,900 in June 2016.
Further proof that the Great Recession had little effect on the industry is that the number of businesses continued to grow, albeit slowly, during the recession. Computer systems design businesses with employees numbered 1,772 in 2007. This number has grown each year, and since 2012, the industry has been adding more than 100 employers every year.
The industry's growth is reflected in the wages it offers. The computer systems design industry paid an annual average wage of $103,448 in Oregon in 2015. Its total payroll was more than $1.5 billion. Wage growth in the industry has also been better than average, 5 percent a year on average since 2009 versus 3 percent for all industries combined.
This growth is expected to continue. A recent forecast by the Oregon Employment Department predicts that the industry will add 5,700 jobs from 2014 to 2024 and end up with a total of 19,900 in the final year. That is growth of 40 percent and compares with expected employment growth of 14 percent for all industries combined in Oregon.
For more on industry structure and occupations, read Erik Knoder's full article: Computer Systems Design Industry