It looked like the high tech industry was going to dodge this economic downturn. Industry hot spots like North Carolina's Research Triangle (the Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill area) and Northern California's legendary Silicon Valley remained fairly secure throughout most of last year. While other major regions around the country saw big declines in every sector, the high tech areas continued to see job growth and stable housing prices. They were, it seemed, "recession proof.- Until the fourth quarter, that is.
Growth in the high tech industry came to a screeching hault in the fall of 2008. The problem? The major players in the industry had pretty much spent all of their venture capital funds. A few years ago, it seemed venture capitalists were clamoring to fund new research and development projects in the tech industry. Not anymore. Given the current state of affairs in the economy, venture capitalists -“ like most people -“ are holding back and waiting for these things to restabilize before making more investments.
Without the necessary investment funds, the high tech areas were quickly swept up into the financial turmoil wreaking havoc around the country. The rates of bankruptcy, foreclosure, and unemployment spiked in the fall, and have continued to climb since. By now, those rates are some of the highest in the country.
For example, in North Carolina, the unemployment rate has doubled since this time last year, to a record of 10.7 percent. In raw numbers, this figure means almost 200,000 people have lost their jobs. Twenty percent of those losses came out of the Research Triangle. In Santa Clara County (the situs of Silicon Valley), bankruptcy filings shot up 59 percent over the last 12 months, and experts predict the rate will continue to climb. The once-booming high tech neighborhoods of Boston are also getting a hard dose of the current economic reality: the number of foreclosures in the area has tripled since last summer.
And you'd probably be surprised to hear that the layoffs are coming from industry powerhouses, like Microsoft, Apple, Yahoo, Intel, Sun, Hewlett Packard, and . . . yes, even the once apparently-infallible Google. Indeed, things have taken such a dramatic turn for the worse that community service centers in Silicon Valley are literally handing out food to people who used to earn six-figure salaries and live in million dollar homes.
It took a while longer for the high tech industry to feel the effects of the current downturn, but it happened, and now the industry is caught up in the full grips of the recession. Fortunately, those caught up in the industry's current woes have the same relief available to them as those whom the recession hit much earlier: bankruptcy protection. Bankruptcy has already helped millions of people weather this storm, as it always has in times of economic turmoil.
In fact, those living in the Research Triangle area have a preeminent bankruptcy resource right in their own backyard: The Law Offices of John T. Orcutt is the largest consumer bankruptcy law firm in the state of North Carolina. The firm has helped tens of thousands of people -- from all walks of life -- use the bankruptcy laws to solve their financial problems and make a fresh start. It has convenient office locations in Raleigh, Durham, Wilson, and Fayetteville. Call (toll free) 1-888-234-4181, to set up a free, confidential debt consultation. Visit www.billsbills.com for more information.