Tech jobs took it on the chin last year. Layoffs at computer, electronics, and telecommunications companies were up 21% to 96,017 jobs cut in 2016, compared to 79,315 the prior year.
Tech layoffs accounted for 18% of the total 526,915 U.S. job cuts announced in 2016, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a global outplacement firm based in Chicago.
Of the 2016 total, some 66,821of the layoffs came from computer companies, up 7% year over year.
Challenger attributed much of that increase to cuts made by Dell Technologies, the entity formed by the $63 billion convergence of Dell and EMC. In preparation for that combination, layoffs were instituted across EMC and its constituent companies, including VMware (VMW).
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Intel’s decision to ax 12,000 people—11% of its workforce—was made because the company has struggled in the mobile device market, John Challenger, chief executive of the outplacement firm said in a statement. And, networking giant Cisco cut 5,500 jobs or 7% of its headcount to better compete with cloud competitors like Amazon Web Services.
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But don’t look for any respite soon. Thousands more job cuts are coming “as companies shift focus to cloud-based computing and smartphones,” Challenger warned.
As bleak as things looked in the computer sector, the telecommunications group also fared poorly. Downsizing among these companies boomed 327% to 20,118 cuts last year compared to 4,708 in 2015. That is due to restructuring-induced layoffs at Sprint (S), Frontier Communication (FTR), and Broadcom (BRCM), according to Challenger.