IT Job Gains Lead the Way

The weather and the overall employment picture might be frigid across most of the country, but it’s summer in the IT job market. Newly released employment data from the Labor Department reveals a fourth straight month of gains in IT services jobs, and a third consecutive month of overall increases in IT employment. Together, these numbers suggests the IT job market is recovering faster than other segments and that companies are looking to technology to get them out of the doldrums.

Upward TrendThe improvement was reported by IT analyst firm Foote Partners, which keeps its finger on emerging trends and current employment statistics. The company reported:

Five IT bellwether job segments reported in the DOL statistics displayed a collective net gain of 7,600 jobs last month and 20,500 for October, November, and December 2009. Unlike in prior months, four of the five segments posted job gains in December, the first time this has occurred since October 2008.

The most robust job segments, Management and Technical Consulting Services and Computer Systems Design and Related Services, accounted for 6,900 of the 7,600 jobs added last month, providing further support to notion that as employers continue to limit staffing increases, they are turning to contractors, consultants, and managed services to perform necessary work.

"There’s no doubt about the fact that this was a disappointing jobs report for the nation as a whole," observes David Foote, CEO and chief research officer of IT industry analyst firm Foote Partners. "But for unemployed and underemployed IT workers, it’s encouraging that the IT services industry can look forward to increasing demand for their services and is responding by adding workers. We can expect to see hiring of technical and management specialists by services firms picking up further in the first quarter of 2010 as demand continues to expand."

Although job gains of 20,500 might seem tepid, especially when you consider that they took place over an entire quarter, at least the overall trend is directionally correct. With any luck, the number of new jobs will continue to rise as the year progresses and companies increase their investments in technology.

— Leslie Stevens-Huffman