After months of year-over-year declines for jobs in data processing, hosting and services, the sector’s employment is showing signs of stabilizing. Although the area added just 200 jobs year-over-year in March, Eduardo Martinez, a senior economist for Moody’s Analytics, says its outlook is favorable as businesses — and especially government agencies — outsource their big data needs to pure-play data-hosting companies.
Meantime, Martinez expects consulting to remain strong, even as the economy recovers. “This is the new normal,” he says. “After the great recession, companies that did a lot of cost-cutting have now institutionalized those cuts. They’d rather hire contractors than full-time employees, even when times are good. With health-care reform, having full-time workers with benefits is getting more expensive.”
Two tech sectors that have been under pressure aren’t seeing any relief: Computer and electronic products, and semiconductors and electronic components both continued to post year-over-year declines. As consumers turn even more attention to tablets and other mobile devices, PC and chip-related jobs will be hurt. While research and development occupations that serve high-end computing products should remain in the U.S., Martinez says, related manufacturing jobs will continue to move offshore.
When it comes to tech overall, the number of jobs in March grew 2.5 percent over March 2012, to 14.3 million. That was a better performance than the nation at large turned in. The overall economy increased the number of jobs by 1.4 percent, to 135.2 million jobs, lower than what analysts had predicted.