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NEWS IN BRIEF

14 Sep 04. The US high technology sector lost more than 400,000 jobs between March 2001 and April this year, with more than half the job cuts coming after the recession officially ended in November 2001, according to a report from the University of Illinois-Chicago. The report said the US high-tech job market shrank by 18.8 per cent to 1,743,500 workers during the three-year period studied. San Francisco and San Jose, at opposite ends of Silicon Valley, were among the hardest hit cities, losing 49 per cent and 33 per cent, respectively, of their jobs. The study was funded by the Ford Foundation and conducted for the Washington Alliance of Technology Workers, a group attempting to unionise workers at Microsoft and other technology companies. The report said the gap between gross domestic prodict growth and the labour market was particularly pronounced in the IT sector. Many companies had been reluctant to hire new workers because it was not clear how much the economy was improving. But the report also noted that the employment situation in the IT sector has been exacerbated by job dislocation due to offshoring. Offshoring refers to the growing trend to export US high-tech and services jobs to countries such as India and China, which have large pools of highly-skilled, low-paid labour. Concern about offshoring and the sluggish pace of employment growth has emerged as a hot issue in the US presidential election campaign. Although the overall US economy added 144,000 jobs in August, it still has lost 913,000 positions since George W. Bush took office. But if the report paints a gloomy picture for the IT sector, there are signs the job environment has improved since April, the latest month included in the report.IBM last month said it was increasing its hiring forecast from 15,000 workers to 18,000 new employees this year, one-third of which will be in the US. A recent study by the Information Technology Association of America, an industry trade group, said the long awaited recovery in IT employment had begun with a 2 per cent increase in jobs from the first quarter of 2003 to the first quarter of 2004. But the study, which used a different methodology than the University of Illinois, noted that demand for IT workers would weaken throughout the rest of this year.

14 Sep 04. QinetiQ announced today that it has signed a purchase agreement with St Louis-based Westar Aerospace & Defense Group Inc, one of the US’s leading providers of aerospace technology solutions. The £72.2m ($130m) US acquisition, which is subject to US regulatory approval, is QinetiQ’s second this month, and will increase its US topline to some $290m. Westar, which has around 900 staff, forecasts revenues of around £77.8m ($140m) in FY2004. The company provides engineering, software and logistics services to the aerospace industries, primarily to the US Department of Defense. It will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of QinetiQ North America and will remain autonomous, retaining its name, core management team, employees and US facilities.

15 Sep 04. During recent flight tests, Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC – News) successfully demonstrated key elements of the Unmanned Combat Armed Rotorcraft (UCAR)’s autonomous vehicle management system, evaluating hardware and software that will allow the UCAR system to operate autonomously but in cooperation with manned and unmanned teams. The vehicle management system serves as the rotorcraft’s functional “brain.”The UCAR program is funded jointly by the DARPA and the U.S. Army. Northrop Grumman is currently competing for Phase III of the program, which will include fabrication and testing of two UCAR demonstrator systems. The flight tests, conducted Aug. 2 at the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Miramar near San Diego, used a company-owned Yamaha R-MAX unmanned helicopter as a UCAR surrogate. The test illustrated the company’s ongoing commitment to reduce development risks for the system. “The vehicle management sy

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