Summer Breathes A Little Life Into IT Jobs Market
August 12, 2013 Jenny Thomas
The U.S. is languishing in the dog days of summer, but soaring temperatures have not caused the overall jobs market to wilt. In fact, there are signs of life with the unemployment rate falling from 7.6 percent to a four-and-a-half-year low of 7.4 percent. That is still above the 5 percent or so typical of a healthy economy, by past standards, but it is good news nonetheless.
While July’s modest gain of 162,000 jobs was the smallest since March, the U.S. economy is continuing to steadily add jobs, just not fast enough to make much of a difference in the big picture.
In our little piece of the jobs market, specifically IT, the analysts at Janco Associates, found the IT job market’s monthly growth increased slightly, from 10,500 jobs in June to 11,200 jobs added in July.
That June IT jobs number was actually adjusted upward from Janco’s original report of 9,900 IT jobs added in June. And the latest July IT jobs number is another leap forward, taking the top spot as the month that added the most IT jobs in 2013.
Despite the fact that a positive trend is emerging for IT jobs, Janco reports CIOs remain cautious about going hog wild with hiring.
“Based on our interviews with over 120 CIOs in the last 30 days, we concluded that CIOs are not in a great hurry to hire new staff until they see a clear trend as to what is happening with the economy. 67 percent of the CIOs we interviewed do not see any real push to expand staffing over the next 12 months.” said Victor Janulaitis, CEO of Janco Associates.
CIOs are also keeping a tight hold on the purse strings when it comes to new projects. “Over two-thirds of the CIOs interviewed feel that the network infrastructure, which many have not been able to update because of budget limitations they have in place is making it more difficult to implement new technologies without significantly increase costs.”
In other words, until budgets begin to expand, staffing and technology will remain status quo.
The numbers for IT jobs created in North America for IT professionals have fluctuated wildly throughout 2013. January got us off to a great start, but by February the slowdown had begun with 5,700 new jobs created. That slide continued in March with to 5,400 jobs created, and April’s numbers brought more discouraging news with just 4,600 new jobs added. May was the beginning of the slow growth trend we are currently seeing, with with 7,900 new jobs added, followed by the previously reported 10,500 IT jobs added in June.
Although the three-month average points to an improved job market, we should not read too much into this slow growth trend, warns Janulaitis. “The overall labor participation rate continues to be lower this year than and other prior year,” he said. “This alone will make it a very difficult process and does not bode well for IT expansion and hiring.”
The monthly Janco IT jobs report did indicate where improvement was seen, including:4,300 jobs added in computer systems design and related services, versus 7,900 in May; 3,600 jobs added in data processing and hosting related services, versus 2,500 jobs in June; and 3,500 jobs added in telecommunications. The “other” information services category lost 300 jobs, which was still an improvement over 400 IT jobs lost in June.