The U.S. information tech sector lost 403,300 jobs between March 2001 and this past April, and the market for tech workers remains bleak, according to a new report.

Perhaps more surprising, just over half of those jobs — 206,300 — were lost after experts declared the recession over in November 2001, say the researchers from the University of Illinois-Chicago.

In all, the researchers said, the job market for high-tech workers shrank by 18.8 percent, to 1,743,500 over the period studied.

Researchers Snigdha Srivastava and Nik Theodore compiled the numbers using the Current Employment Statistics survey and the Current Population Survey.

The report, funded by the Ford Foundation, was conducted for the Washington Alliance of Technology Workers, a Seattle organization that wants to unionize workers at Microsoft Corp. and other technology companies.

Theodore, director of the university’s Center for Urban Economic Development, said one factor in the staggering high-tech job losses is the familiar lament that businesses have been wary to hire because of uncertainty over how much the economy is improving.

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