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August 1996

Computer manufacturing: change and competition

Jacqueline Warnke

A historical study of the computer industry reveals that computer manufacturers add workers to their payrolls, then shed them when the products they manufacture undergo technological change, increased demand, and international competition; what is the impact on workers in the industry? The computer manufacturing industry lost 32 percent of its workforce from 1984 to 1995. This article discusses some of the reasons behind this employment decline, which include a shift in focus from computer hardware to software, changing industry dynamics, international competition, and emerging technologies.

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