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American IT hires (some) new workers in November

Just +39k jobs across US, though: Not enough

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

The US economy is still not strong enough to give 15.1 million unemployed workers the jobs they need. This morning, the Department of Labor said that non-farm payrolls rose by only 39,000 workers in November, not even close to the 200,000 jobs per month that are necessary to keep up with population growth and the millions of jobs that need to be created to make a dent in the unemployment rate.

While creating 39,000 more jobs is better than losing several hundred thousand, as was happening each month during the Great Recession, the unemployment rate ticked up to 9.8 per cent, putting even more pressure on the Obama Administration to do something other than put a government pay freeze into effect for two years and losing the 2012 election. (The former happened this week, and the latter likely will in less than two years because presidents and congresses don't control economies so much as nudge, persuade, cajole, and con them.)

Manufacturers, where a lot IT hardware companies are lumped by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, shed 13,000 jobs in November. This part of the economy had been adding jobs in January through April, but as a group, hiring at manufacturers flatlined in May, according to the BLS. Temporary help services and healthcare continue to be the growth areas of the American economy; retailers cut 28,000 workers, but miners added 6,000. (Looks like someone is digging for rare earths used in all those fancy electronic gadgets and probably some coal to power them.)

The BLS doesn't track jobs by title, but by industry, so we can't really get a sense of how the IT jobs market is doing. But we can get a feel for it in an oblique way by looking at IT-related areas and get a sense of how companies that make computers, host them, or sell services related to them are faring in terms of their employment.

Within the manufacturing sector, there were just over 1.1 million employees working in factories making computer and electronic components, and these added 4,600 workers last month. Within that group, those who make computers and peripherals added 900 jobs – to 163,200 total workers – while employment by those who make communications equipment held steady at 123,300. Semiconductor makers added 300 workers for a total labor pool of 368,700 as November came to a close.

In the information sector, which includes publishing, movie making, broadcasting, telecom, and data processing and hosting, IT-related companies added some jobs in November. Telecommunications companies had 923,200 workers as November ended, up 4,800 workers since October. Companies in the data processing, hosting, and related services businesses had 245,700 employees, an increase of 1,400 people.

In the professional services sector, companies engaged in computer systems design and related services had over 1.48 million employees as September came to a close, up 3,100 from October. Management and technical consulting services firms had over 1 million workers and added 6,600 more in November.

You can take a look at the full jobs report for November from the BLS here. ®

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