Washington, D.C. -- The U.S. high-tech industry lost 540,000 jobs in 2002 says a report by the high-tech trade organization American Electronics Association (AeA), dropping the total amount of high-tech jobs to 6 million. The report also says that a preliminary look at 2003 data shows that this year's decline has slowed considerably.

The report, AeA's Annual Cyberstates 2003: A State-by-State Overview of the High-Technology Industry, details national and state trends in high-tech employment, wages, exports, and other economic indicators.

The report says the sector with the largest decrease in jobs was electronics manufacturing, accounting for more than half of all tech jobs lost between 2001 and 2002.

The software sector recorded its first job decline in the seven-year history of the report, losing nearly 150,000 jobs. The engineering and tech services sector also lost approximately 15,000 jobs in 2002.

The one employment bright spot in the report was in research and development, which recorded an increase of approximately 7,000 in 2002.

"While high-tech employment fell by 8 percent last year, preliminary 2003 data show a significant slowdown in high-tech job losses, with a decline of four percent," said AeA's President and CEO William T. Archey. "We project that the 2003 high-tech job losses will total 234,000 -- down 57 percent from the 540,000 decline in 2002."

State by state statistics are available on the association's Web site.