Tech Industry: What Recession?

Despite the stagnant economy, the tech industry is booming. According to Bloomberg, nearly 50 companies with market values of more than $100 million have boosted their workforce by more than half over the last two years. Smaller businesses grew at an even more rapid pace, increasing their payrolls by almost fivefold.

BusinessWeek reports that many bright Americans who at one time might have flocked to the banking industry are now following market trends and joining software and Internet companies instead. While the unemployment rate stood at 8.5% in December, 74 companies valued at $100 million or more in the tech industry grew their workforce by at least 10 %. Among the tech companies with the most growth were Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), and Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) who each increased their payroll by at least 50% over the last two years.

And the trend doesn’t show any signs of subsiding. According to BusinessWeek both Amazon and Facebook plan to add thousands of jobs in 2012. Ebay (NASDAQ:EBAY) and Tibco Software Inc (NASDAQ:TIBX) also say they’ll be hiring. Tibco’s CEO, Vivek Ranadive, said, “We are hiring quite rapidly now, all in sales and service. It’s a good time to hire,” at the World Economic Forum’s annual conference last week.

But not everyone is convinced that fleeing to the tech industry is the way to go. BusinessWeek quoted Stuart MacDonald, chief marketing and revenue officer at Freshbooks.com, a maker of online business software in Toronto, who said, “After some real dark days, there’s a lot of excitement and innovation happening again, but as a guy who has been through Bubble 1.0, I can’t help but see a lot of similarities. I can’t help but think I’ve seen this movie before.”