Disappointing jobs report still positive for developers and data pros

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Despite what was widely viewed as a disappointing jobs report for February, the tech sector emerged as one of the strongest hiring sectors, with software development and data management among the winners.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the overall economy added only 20,000 new jobs in February, but 7,500 of those were in the tech sector. This strong showing in technology hiring is a positive outcome in light of the generally weak hiring across much of the economy, according to an analysis by CompTIA, the leading technology industry association.

Four of the tech sector’s five employment categories ended February in positive territory, CompTIA’s analysis of today’s Bureau of Labor Statistics “Employment Situation” report finds. New hiring in technology services, custom software development and computer systems design led the way in February expanding by an estimated 3,300 new hires.

Computer, electronic, and semiconductor products manufacturing employment increased by an estimated 2,500 positions, with more than half of the total (1,300 positions) in the sub-category of computer and peripheral equipment manufacturing.

February also saw job gains in data processing, hosting and related services (a gain of 2,400 jobs), including search portals (an increase of 1,600 jobs). Employment in the telecommunications market was down an estimated 2,300 jobs last month, the fourth straight month of job losses.

“Tech employment continues to trend upward. Beyond broad-based demand for core technical positions, job posting data indicates emerging tech roles are starting to make a meaningful contribution to tech employment gains” says Tim Herbert, senior vice president for research and market intelligence at CompTIA.

Across the entire economy IT occupations expanded by an estimated 253,000 positions last month, the largest one month gain since November 2015. The impressive number comes with a cautionary note, however, Herbert says. There tends to be a higher degree of variance with monthly Bureau of Labor Statistics data at the occupation level, so the monthly occupation figures should be viewed as directional.

The unemployment rate for IT occupations stood as 2.3 percent in February, compared to 2.5 percent in February 2018. The U.S. unemployment rate declined by 0.2 percentage point to 3.8 percent in February.

On the future hiring front, the number of employer job postings for core IT skills declined by nearly 40,000 positions from January to February. There was no change in the rank order of tech skills being sought by employers. Software and application developers, computer user support specialists and computer systems engineers and architects held the top three positions.

The CompTIA IT Employment Tracker report is available at https://www.slideshare.net/comptia/comptia-it-employment-tracker-march-2019.

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