We may have a bit of smoke and mirrors going on, at least in tech layoffs. Here's my admitedly biased take, before I get into this report: Infoworld has not always been friendly in their editorials to tech workers, in any article on H-1b they support massive immigration and outsourcing. So this article might just be painting a rosy picture where there is none.
Having said that, the article points out that actual jobs lost are far less than announced numbers of positions cut. They give a very good reasons for this- that the first thing you cut is vacant positions by ending the hiring process. They claim, for instance, that Microsoft's planned 5000 position layoff, only 1400 employees were actually laid off so far. Sun announced 6000 positions to be laid off- but has only laid off 1300 actual people.
Which makes me wonder if other large layoff numbers are equally inflated, in other industries.
After all, there are a large number of ways companies can downsize without actually laying people off or firing them. They can cut hours until people can no longer live on their paychecks and quit. They can wait for normal retirement and turnover to take care of the problem (just about any IT department I've ever worked in could reduce their workforce 25% a year that way), by not hiring to fill vacant positions. Just because a company finds they need to reduce headcount, doesn't mean they need to fire people to do it. And when it is the employee's idea to leave, they're less likely to draw unemployment and more likely to have someplace to go to.