Worldwide semiconductor were up slightly in January, representing a huge leap from the same period last year.

The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) said Monday that Global chip sales hit $22.5 billion in January, increasing 3 percent over the previous month.

It's 47.2 percent over sales in January 2009, however, the strongest sign yet that the industry is recovering after being hit by the macro-economic slowdown.

Worldwide semiconductor sales in January increased significantly compared to one year ago, reflecting today's improving business environment for the industry, SIA President George Scalise said in a written statement.

January and February of 2009 were the low point of the industry downturn as the semiconductor industry and electronics manufacturers quickly responded to the global economic recession.

iSuppli, a market research firm, predicted today that revenue for the entire first quarter of 2010 will show impressive growth compared to the same quarter last year.

Analysts at iSuppli noted that they expect worldwide chip revenue in the first quarter to be up 48.5 percent over the same period in 2009.

The 48.5% year-over-year growth in the first quarter will lay the foundation for a robust rebound in the global semiconductor business in 2010, said Dale Ford, senior vice president at iSuppli, in a written statement.

iSuppli predicts global semiconductor revenue in 2010 will rise to $279.7 billion, up 21.5% from $230.2 billion in 2009. This will mark the first year of double-digit percentage revenue growth for the semiconductor industry since 2006.