No surprises here
The cost of delaying a purchase is only an opportunity cost to the business. Laying off people if you expect to recover has the potential to be a huge cost. First off, you have the increases in taxes (otherwise known as unemployment insurance rates) for laying off the employees. If you employ more than 50 people, you have regulatory costs involved in making certain you jump through all the right hoops, and potential legal costs if somebody decides your paperwork wasn't in order or you discriminated against them for some unfathomable reason or another. Finally, when you do recover, odds are your former IT employee has found another job somewhere else, which means you'll spend 6-8 weeks looking for his replacement, and a year or more training him to be useful within your corporate structure. So in the initial stages of a downturn (and make no mistake about it, despite it's depth, these are still only the initial stages) you cut purchasing, not people. That impacts the manufacturing sector (Dell, HP, Lenovo) not the service sector (Programming, Networking, Help Desk). Furthermore, the pause in purchasing allows the IT shop time to focus on some of those items that further down the To Do list that only require time but normally get pushed back because they don't want equipment idling.
Oh, and the unemployment numbers aren't behaving normally this time around either. Normally after some amount of time people do normally stop looking for work and wait for the economy to get better, and those numbers properly drive down the unemployment rate. This time they aren't. Whether people think this is really different from the last few downturns in that it is going to be a long hard slog like the Great Depression was so they'd better keep pounding the pavement, or if it is that their asset losses have left them hurting so much they HAVE to be out looking for a job, they are looking for a job longer.