By Agence France-Presse Growth in information technology jobs in the United States is expected to remain sluggish for the rest of 2004, according to a survey by a high-tech association. The Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) survey, released Sept. 8, said that the high-tech job market showed a modest 2% increase in the first quarter of 2004 but that the market is expected to shrink over the rest of the year. Based on a telephone survey of 500 hiring managers, the association said the size of the IT workforce grew to 10.5 million jobs in the first quarter. "But demand for IT workers continues to drop, with hiring managers indicating that they will seek to fill approximately 270,000 fewer jobs in 2004," the report said. Nearly 89% of new jobs came from non-technology companies, with industries like banking, finance, manufacturing, food service and transportation accounting for 79% of the IT workforce. But the ITAA said competition is fierce as an increasing number of job functions move around the globe. "This is still not the job market America's IT workers have been hoping for," said ITAA President Harris Miller. "Instead, increased competition appears to be the rule for 2004 here and abroad. The U.S. workforce is not giving up its edge without a fight, but as an industry and as a nation, we must become more competitive if we are to retain our standing as the world's innovators."