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Software developers are hot, data pros not so much, in BLS report

The tight job market for software professionals continued in July, with the tech sector reporting particularly strong hiring numbers, but demand for skilled data pros may have cooled.

According to the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. technology sector recorded its strongest month of job growth so far this year in July, adding an estimated 14,500 positions. Tech industry employment is up nearly 72,000 jobs for the year so far, with 70 percent of those positions in IT services and custom software development.

Gains were recorded in all employment categories, led by IT services, custom software development and computer system design, which added some 8,300 positions last month according to CompTIA’s review of the Bureau of Labor Statistics “Employment Situation” report.

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“For tech employment, there is a lot to like in this month’s jobs report,” said Tim Herbert, senior vice president, research and market intelligence, at industry association CompTIA. “The July numbers align to show continuing tech employment momentum heading into the second half of the year.”

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Programmers work at the Maluuba Inc. office in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015. Several leading Canadian researchers and professors have defected to U.S. tech companies such as Google. Already members of the country's AI community are trying to protect what they helped build. A startup called Maluuba, which makes technology that helps computers talk, is opening a research office in Montreal; the University of Toronto has opened a startup accelerator and this fall launched a program dedicated to AI research. Photographer: James MacDonald/Bloomberg

CompTIA’s analysis of the BLS numbers reveals a number of trends in IT hiring in the tech sector. They include:

  • Within the IT sector in July, the category of other information services, including search portals, added 2,400 new jobs, the highest monthly gain in this segment this year.
  • The computer, electronics and semiconductor manufacturing category added an estimated 2,900 jobs. For the year, tech manufacturing employment has grown by an estimated 14,400 positions.
  • Even the telecommunications category – which has experienced employment, declines each month during the first half of the year – ended July in positive territory, albeit with a modest gain of 600 jobs.
  • Employment in data processing, hosting and related services grew by 300 positions.
  • The July unemployment rate for IT occupations followed suit was unchanged at 1.9 percent, which remains one of the lowest rates across all occupation categories.

July’s strong overall hiring numbers for the tech industry is not a lark, industry analysts say. Looking ahead, companies increased the number of job postings for technology positions by an estimated 53,000, to just over 300,000 in July. That’s well above the January 2018 figure of 150,000 job postings, Herbert noted.

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