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Software developers and engineers looking for a new job in 2018 may be best off looking to the vendor community for their next paycheck. New job statistics show a rise in the number of developers being hired in the tech sector, but a decline in the number of such jobs among “user” organizations.

According to new job numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics “Employment Situation” report, employment in the IT services and custom software category continues to be the bellwether for hiring in technology.

The IT sector added an estimated 7,000 new jobs in April, the third consecutive month of job growth, with the majority of those jobs coming in the IT services and custom software development spaces. Through the first four months of 2018, this employment category has grown by some 26,800 jobs.

Job postings for computer support specialists in the tech sector grew by 1,100 last month, pushing this category to the second most in-demand position employers are seeking to fill, behind only software developers.

But job postings for IT occupations in other industries declined by 14,400 in April, with most of the decline due to a lower number of postings for software developers; down 8,000 from March, but still totaling 68,400 for the month.

This may seem counter to the falling unemployment rate for computer occupations overall, but it may signify employers are redeploying job posting resources to other recruitment methods, such as executive recruiting, employee referrals, or social media, noted Tim Herbert, senior vice president, research and market intelligence, at industry association CompTIA.

“The unemployment rate for the computer occupations category now stands at a very low 1.7 percent,” said Herbert, in response to the new BLS report. “This will put further pressure on employers to step up their recruiting and talent retention strategies.”

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In other tech employment categories:

  • Some 900 jobs were added last month in the computer and electronics manufacturing category. For the year, this category has expanded by an estimated 6,100 positions, with positive job growth in every month.
  • Other information services, including search portals added 1,300 jobs last month.
  • Employment is in data processing, hosting and related services was unchanged in April, but is in positive territory for the year (plus 8,000).
  • Telecommunications shed another 1,900 positions in April, and 8,900 jobs so far in 2018.

Overall, the U.S. economy some 164,000 nonfarm payroll jobs in April below analysts’ expectations for a gain of about 190,000 jobs. The nation’s unemployment rate fell to 3.9 percent, the lowest level since December 2000, according to the BLS.
April data on tech occupation employment across all sectors of the economy was not immediately available from the BLS.

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