US Tech Sector Employment Appears to be Holding Steady in Uncertain Labor Market
Monday, April 6th, 2020
Employment in the U.S. information technology (IT) sector expanded by an estimated 8,500 new workers in March, according to CompTIA, the leading trade association for the global IT industry.
The other component of IT employment – positions with employers across all other industry sectors throughout the economy – lost an estimated 19,000 jobs last month, according to CompTIA's analysis of employment data released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. #JobsReport
"At this point we simply do not know how the crisis will play out in the labor market," said Tim Herbert, executive vice president for research and market intelligence at CompTIA. "On the one hand, reliance on technology grows by the day and the professionals that support networks, remote work, e-commerce, cybersecurity, and related, are more critical than ever. On the other, historical precedent reminds us that no category of employment is immune to severe downturns."
The unemployment rate for IT occupations stood at 2.4% last month. In the past 20 years, there were two periods when unemployment rates spiked for IT occupations. Most recently during the 2008-2010 financial crisis, IT occupation unemployment reached 6.5%. A similar rate was reached back during the dot.com crash of 2000-2002.
Overall, U.S. employment fell by 701,000 positions as the economy felt the growing effects of COVID-19. Restaurants and bars took the brunt of the March job losses (-417,400). Temporary help services (-49,500), retail (-46,200), hotels and accommodations (-28,900) and child day care centers (-18,600) were also hard hit.
Within the IT sector four of five employment categories saw modest job growth in March. Hiring of IT services, custom software development and computer systems design professionals accounted for the majority of the gains, with an estimated 3,800 jobs added, Other information services, including search engines and portals, increased by 2,700 new workers; data processing, hosting and related services was up 1,900; and computer and electronic products manufacturing grew by 1,800. Telecommunications lost 1,700 jobs.
Strong Demand for Remote and Work-from-Home IT Workers
The "CompTIA IT Employment Tracker" also reveals that during the first quarter of 2020 there were more than 243,053 job postings nationwide for IT positions that specified remote or work from home as a job requirement or option. That represented an increase of 182% from Q1 2019 when there were 86,171 such postings. Because not all employer job postings specify remote or work from home, the figures could be even higher.
For the month of March, all IT job postings increased slightly from February, to just under 359,400.
Software and application developers are the most in-demand professionals sought by companies, with an estimated 114,000 job openings. Other occupations employers are looking to hire include IT support specialists (30,600), systems engineers and architects (26,100), systems analysts (24,100) and IT project managers (21,300).
Job posting data should be viewed as an indicator of where companies are headed with their technology investments rather than a forecast of future hiring because every job posting does not result in a new hire.
California (58,922), Texas (34,087), Virginia (21,643), New York (18,958) and North Carolina (16,518) were the top five states for IT job postings in March. California, Virginia, Texas, North Carolina and the District of Columbia saw the largest month over month increase in postings.
At the metro level, Washington, D.C., led the nation in both the total number of March IT job postings (25,855) and in the month-over-month increase (+ 3,310).
New York, Los Angeles, Dallas and San Francisco rounded out the top five markets for total IT job postings; while Los Angeles, San Jose, Dallas and San Diego followed Washington in month-over-month growth.
Industries with the strongest demand for IT workers include professional, scientific and technical services (64,460 job postings in March); finance and insurance (26,586); manufacturing (22,464); and information (15,747).