US tech jobs grow (a bit)
Well, up beats down
Buried deep in the latest US Bureau of Labor Statistics employment report is a startling statistic: Employment in the computer industry is on the rise.
In its Economic News Release for July 2009, the Bureau's head-counters revealed that during July 2009, seasonally adjusted employment in "Computer systems design and related services" rose by 7,900 to 1,464,300.
This during a month in which the US non-farm payroll as a whole sunk by 247,000.
Raw numbers - that is, ones not adjusted for regular seasonal variations - were even more favorable, with a rise of 12,900 jobs in the category.
The job growth is even more striking considering that seasonally adjusted jobs sank in the computer systems category by 3,400 in May and 600 in June. The July 2009 numbers were also up from those of July 2008 by 8,100 jobs.
If you lean to the latter half of the "half-empty or half-full?" spectrum, news in the "Data processing, hosting and related services" category could also be considered encouraging, though less so.
Jobs in that category, seasonally adjusted, sank by a mere 400 in July - but they're still down by 6,800 when compared with the same period last year.
Commenting (PDF) on the job stats, IT-workforce analyst David Foote said, "Do IT professionals have something to cheer about? Sure, in the short term," adding that "There has been a vibrancy in the job market throughout this recession driven by employers search for IT workers with the right skills and experience for the job. If anything, I expect this to intensify in the next several months."
That would indeed be good news, seeing as how a total of 6.7 million US jobs have fallen into the hole created by the cratering economy since December of 2007.
A gain of 7,900 jobs may be just a drop in that deep, deep bucket, but we like the trend line.
Better up than down. ®
Not too surprising
Different sectors are impacted differently. You can hire burger-flippers and salesfolk when you need them. Building company infrastructure and doing product R & D has a longer lead time so you need to hire up the IT etc staff now. As business confidence builds, companies want to rebuild ready for mainstream improvements that might still be quite a few months away.
Any company sitting on a cash mountain would have seen the recession as a great opportunity to keep up R&D spending and improving their position while their competitors had to cut staff and fall behind.