While the spate of layoffs in the technology sector earlier this month were a surprise and an apparent stumble backwards in 2009 employment trends, signs are still pointing to continuing, but slow, recovery from the recession. Earlier this month, Gartner reported that PC sales are rebounding more quickly than expected (a rebound which should be further accelerated by the holiday season – according to PriceGrabber, PCs are the most desired holiday gifts). Thanks to the upswing in PC sales, semiconductor sales are also performing better than expected, Gartner announced Monday.

While still showing a decline year-over-year, sales are much better than the analyst firm predicted in August, when it forecast a 17 percent decline.

That loss has now been adjusted to 11.4 percent for 2009.

Gartner expects 2010 to bring semiconductor sales back up to near 2008 levels, predicting that 2010 semiconductor sales will increase 13 percent over 2009, generating $255 billion in revenue, the same figure as 2008 sales.

“The most significant changes for the semiconductor industry came from application-specific standard products (ASSPs), memory and compute (sic) microprocessors, as all three products benefited from a strengthening PC market,” said Bryan Lewis, research vice president at Gartner. “ASSPs and memory, primarily NAND flash, also benefited from an improved outlook for cell phones,” Lewis said.

“The revenue forecast for the commodity memory market — DRAM and NAND flash — has improved because of the stronger demand outlook, which means that pricing has strengthened more than previously forecast,” Lewis said.

By Mark Alvarez