IT Jobs Grow in the U.S. Despite Economic Woes
July 21, 2008 Timothy Prickett Morgan
This is one of those situations where you can look at a bit of data as a pessimist or an optimist, depending on how you want to feel about the job situation in the information technology area. The National Association of Computer Consultant Businesses, an organization based in Alexandria, Virginia, that represents over 400 IT services companies with combined sales of $15 billion, released its June 2008 IT employment index recently, and the news is good.
In fact, in terms of the increase in IT jobs in the United States, the news has been good for a while.
The index that NACCB builds is based on raw data it culls from the reports filed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a division of the U.S. Department of Commerce that is responsible for tracking all manger of things relating to jobs on behalf of Uncle Sam. BLS dices and slices the data a little differently than NACCB wants to, including the publishing, motion picture, and sound engineering sectors in a broader information sector. So each month, NAACB goes through the data and comes up with numbers that are a better indicator of the IT sector based on the BLS data.
Here’s the good news, as far as NACCB can tell, from its remixing of the BLS data (which you can read here): IT jobs are up. However, from May to June, IT jobs only rose by 1,700 across the 50 states of the Union to hit a total of 3,907,800 total IT jobs. That’s better than the 6,000 job decline in January 2008, and it represents a 7.2 percent increase in job count since June 2007. Significantly, the U.S. economy lost 438,000 jobs since the beginning of 2008, according to NACCB, but the IT sector has added nearly 90,000 jobs. This is a good trend bucking, and something that IT professionals should be encouraged by even if wage growth may not be all that great right now. NACCB actually went back and revised its May 2008 index recently, and now reckons that nearly 43,000 IT jobs were added in May–nearly half of the growth so far for 2008. Last May saw a similar jump, as you can see from this wonderful chart put together by the NACCB below:
And just so you get a little perspective, the number of IT jobs today is quite a bit larger in the States than during the dot-com boom, which peaked in late 2001 with 3.6 million people employed in what NACCB considers the IT sector. The question now, of course, is will the IT sector continue to grow, or will it start to plateau? Past trends are not much of a guide, so we will just have to wait and see.