The IT sector is back in growth mode, adding 12,500 jobs in October, according to U.S. employment numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The job gains in October are a welcome rebound after disappointing September numbers from the BLS, which reported a net loss of 1,700 jobs in the IT sector.
September's unexpected job losses marked the first monthly decline in IT headcount since August 2010. But industry watchers didn't expect the trend to continue, and predictions of a return to growth came to fruition.
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"... in September there was a lot of nervousness in the marketplace created by presidential campaign rhetoric combined with normal end of the year fiscal planning as the start of the final calendar quarter approached. This caused some hesitance as companies stepped back and rechecked their budgets and hiring plans," said David Foote, CEO of IT analyst firm Foote Partners, in a statement.
"This October rebound in IT job creation is exactly what we predicted last month," Foote said.
His firm interviewed a number of companies and found many had frozen IT hiring in September to review their plans, but the restrictions were generally temporary. "Those have been lifted for the most part, active searches for talent are back on track, and the October numbers showed that," Foote stated. "I'm certain that we will also see strong IT numbers in November's employment report."
Foote Partners bases its analysis of the IT jobs market on four BLS job segments associated with IT pros: Management and Technical Consulting Services, which gained 4,500 jobs in October; Computer Systems Design/Related Services, which gained 6,600 jobs; Telecommunications and Data Processing, which gained 1,400 jobs; and Hosting and Related Services, which was flat.
The two services segments (Management and Technical Consulting Services and Computer Systems Design/Related Services) have been on a roll for the last couple of years. Over the last 29 months, they've added 291,200 new jobs to U.S. payrolls, by Foote's count.
Conversely, it has been a tough year for the two IT-related segments in the Information industry job category (Telecommunications and Data Processing, Hosting and Related Services), which have lost an average of 1,640 jobs per month in 2012.
Yet despite the struggles of certain IT job sectors, the industry as a whole is experiencing healthy demand.
Not only did the market bounce back in October, it bounced back higher than the norm. Looking at the year 2012 so far, the monthly IT job growth rate has averaged 9,670 jobs. October's gain of 12,500 IT jobs exceeds that average by nearly 3,000 jobs, Foote noted.
"So this was not just a reversal of September's dip but a big statement that demand for IT professionals is unquestioned," Foote concluded. "This is a strong and sustained trend that is impervious to the occasional market hiccup."
Another organization, TechAmerica Foundation, recently noted similar signs of sustained health in the IT jobs sector.
TechAmerica tallied job growth in the first half of 2012 in four high-tech job sectors: software services, which added 50,800 jobs between January and June 2012; engineering and tech services, which added 49,900 jobs; technology manufacturing, which gained 9,200 jobs; and communications services, which lost 10,700 jobs.
Overall, three of the four high-tech job sectors analyzed by TechAmerica Foundation saw positive job growth in the first half of 2012, amounting to nearly 100,000 new jobs for the tech industry.
Ann Bednarz covers IT careers, outsourcing and Internet culture for Network World. Follow Ann on Twitter at @annbednarz and check out her blog, Occupational Hazards. Her email address is [email protected]
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