Aside from a spike in the number of layoffs among dot-coms after Sept. 11, the hemorrhaging of jobs at Internet companies continues to slow, according to the analyst firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc.
The number of dot-com layoffs for this month, 2,901, is the lowest level since July of last year, partly because there aren't that many jobs left to cut.
"No question. The dot-com sector itself is a small fraction of what it was at its peak. Bricks and clicks is much more where the future of e-commerce is heading," said John A. Challenger, CEO of the Chicago-based firm, which has tracked layoffs at dot-com companies for two years.
The total for the year to date, 98,522, is already well above the total for all of last year, which was 41,515. Last month, the number spiked to 4,840 after 2,986 jobs were cut in September.
"Dot-coms are still being affected by loss of online advertising revenue and the hesitancy of financial backers, making this industry all the more tenuous. It has become a constant challenge for businesses to maintain profitability," Challenger said in a statement. "It is hoped that the holiday season will provide a much-needed boost to this struggling sector. Due to terrorism concerns, more holiday shoppers may decide to stay at home this year and increase online shopping."
There is some research to support that hope, Challenger said.
"There is some indication that Yahoo, AOL and Amazon -- the biggies-- are seeing increased traffic as a result of the conditions that have resulted since Sept. 11," he said.
While the number of layoffs is decreasing, technology companies that operate exclusively online were by far the hardest hit, with 1,614 job cuts.