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U.S. tech employment nears its all-time high

U.S. report says tech industry added 7,100 jobs in November; tech wages may be rising as well

The U.S. government's report today that the unemployment rate is down and hiring is up showed some good news for tech workers as well.

The tech industry added 7,100 jobs last month, an increase of .17% from the previous month, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data analyzed by the TechServe Alliance, an industry group that tracks labor data month to month.

This brings the overall employment number for the industry to 4.068 million, which represents a year over year gain of 2.1%.

Tech industry employment is nearing the all-time high of 4.088 million, which was set in June, 2008, according to TechServe.

The government counts employees working high technology industries as tech workers. Someone working in IT at a food manufacturing company, for instance, may not be counted as a tech worker.

Mark Roberts, CEO of the alliance, said member firms are reporting, anecdotally, strong demand for IT professionals. "I remain very bullish going into 2012," he said.

The national unemployment rate dropped to 8.6%, with U.S. payrolls up by 120,000 workers overall.

Tech wages may be seeing gains as well, though the data supporting this is more anecdotal.

One study by Yoh Services, a technology staffing firm that tracks the wages of its workers, said Thursday that wages for highly skilled workers increased by 6.85% in September compared to the year ago month.

The Philadelphia-based company called that wage increase "remarkably strong."

Yoh reported that the average hourly wage of skilled temporary workers in technology, engineering, life sciences, and healthcare is now at $31.85.

The Federal Reserve Board, in its Beige Book released this week, also reported wage gains for IT workers. The Beige Book is a collection of reports about economic from around the country.

In San Francisco, for instance, high levels of unemployment kept compensation gains minimal in most sectors. "The primary exception was workers in information technology fields, such as software developers, who continue to see high levels of recruiting activity and significant wage increases," the Fed reported.

In Boston and Kansas City, the Fed reported wage increases for tech workers.

Patrick Thibodeau covers SaaS and enterprise applications, outsourcing, government IT policies, data centers and IT workforce issues for Computerworld. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @DCgov , or subscribe to Patrick's RSS feed . His e-mail address is [email protected] .

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