Unemployment Down, Layoffs Up in Q2


Despite the usual chatter about a tech bubble (and scuttlebutt about when it might pop), hiring for tech professionals stayed robust in the second quarter of 2015, according to new data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The unemployment rate for tech pros currently stands at 2.1 percent, down from 2.3 percent in the first quarter. That’s the lowest rate recorded since the second quarter of 2008, right before the Great Recession commenced in earnest.

BLS Unemployment Rate

While that rate is great for tech pros looking for a job, not all tech segments have seen the same declines. In fact, between the first two quarters of the year, the unemployment rate for Web developers climbed from 2.1 percent to 3.1 percent. Computer support specialists, network and systems administrators, computer & information systems managers, and database administrators also saw their respective unemployment rates rising slightly.

Programmers, on the other hand, saw their unemployment rate dip from 6.5 percent to 1.8 percent between the first and second quarters; software developers also experienced a slight decline during the same period, from 1.5 percent to 1.3 percent. If you build websites or apps your prospects look pretty good.

For tech pros who either consult or work in computer-systems design, the past quarter was a good one, with a net gain of 25,000 jobs. That category has enjoyed significant growth over the past few quarters, driven by a widespread need for consulting services. Data processing, hosting, and related services saw a gain of 5,500 jobs in the quarter.

Not all categories enjoyed growth in total jobs. Computer and electronic manufacturing lost 700 jobs, almost certainly due to decreased appetite among consumers and businesses for PCs and other hardware.

Layoffs and discharges for the tech industry as a whole rose slightly in April and May (the latest months for which the BLS had numbers), to an average of 441,500 employees per month. That’s higher than the first quarter, when layoffs and discharges averaged 424,300 per month.

But not every tech pro left their company due to a layoff: Nearly half a million employees voluntarily quit their jobs in both April and May, hinting that people feel confident about striking out for better opportunities. Considering the unemployment rate, those with the right combination of skills and experience can certainly have their pick of offers.

15 Responses to “Unemployment Down, Layoffs Up in Q2”

  1. Joe Bob

    Pick of jobs? In what market? Employers are looking for more experience than what they are willing to pay for where I’m at anyway. That is why you are seeing more posted jobs. No one wants to do more work for less money.

  2. Totally agree with Joe Bob on the required skills versus pay thing. Positions are posted needing Principle level skills but for junior level pay. They end up getting what they pay for and the seasoned hands fill the gap.

  3. Yes they are plenty of jobs out there if you are a one person IT shop and are willing to work on contract for 25-35 an hour.
    I am sure everyone has seen all the ads like below read all the skills they want and then go the end and check out the rate:
    Client who is seeking a Technical Analyst/Administrator for a Contract to hire opportunity.Responsibilities:
    Provides support, with general supervision, in the following technical areas: desktop, telecom, networks, servers, messaging, LAN, security, job scheduling. Candidate should have background in database administration and VMWare
    Responsible for set of manufacturing applications for manufacturing plants. Called the -Service Center-repairs on devices
    A very technical resource who is a -jack of all trades-. Understand security, servers, PCs, virtual environment, -definitely- database administration
    Hands on administration, not just an understanding

    MS SQL
    SQL 2000, 2005, 2008
    Troubleshoot performance
    Create new databases
    Create Views / Stored Procedure
    Generate crystal reports of data and post on local website.
    Database backups and transaction logs
    IBM DB2 9.5
    POMS Database
    Database tables changes to modify POMS processing
    SQL and Oracle
    VMWare is key
    Strong business acumen
    Working with many members of the business side
    Hardware – Windows Servers. VMWare
    Network side is mostly Cisco SAN – can be trained on this


    25.00 – 35.00 $ /hour
    Job Status:
    Career Level:
    Experienced (Non-Manager)

  4. Harry winston

    the pressure to do more and work more for less money is being driven by offshoring – no thought is being put into the maintenance and enhancement of these systems – the perception is you design a system and hire someone dirt cheap to maintain it – this short citedness actually increases cost over time bc the mindset is so narrow

  5. Somebody Noes

    Most certainly agree with Joe Bob!! Employers are now hiring based on a degree in my area rather than real experience that someone gains near a similiar discipline!

    I hope the job winning degree holders work for all of those businesses! One day these same people will be let go soon and experience will reign again.

    HR start using your heads again about hiring! You left them at home and zombied your way with your commute to work!

  6. I agree with Joe Bob on this one too. Employers are looking for skills they are not willing to pay for. What they will get is a cut rate job done and quality will surely suffer.
    That said, and I don’t have a big fancy degree either but I do have 19 years in the business and countless hours of experience developing and managing in IT. I see both sides of the fence on this one, so I’d say employees “don’t inflate your resume”!
    Old IT guys like we here, need to be blogging, need to be showcasing our skills in the world, then there’s no doubt what a potential employer might get when one of us walks in the door. The the $$ will show up and the less-than-skilled-newcomers will see what it’s all about.
    An economist also says, “There’s no reason for you to change your business, it’s OK. Your business can die, that’s fine”. To me, that means we old IT guys need to be staying up to date, don’t stop learning and being relevant!

  7. Michael

    The comments so far have been consistent with my experience. I chose the contractor route a couple decades ago. In those years rates were relatively high. It was not uncommon to work for $90/hr. The thought was “pay more for short term employees because we can save money in the long run.” Today it seems the answer is “pay less for more and make no commitments.” The jobs are shorter terms, the pay is 40% less, and the result is insufficient cash to bridge the dead zone between contracts. Subsequently I am now looking for long-term regular employment at a reasonable rate, assuming the arrangement still exists.

  8. Kalyani

    Totally agree with Joe Bob. At least 50% of the job descriptions and requirements I see for one job contain 2-3 full time jobs. Not only they want you to test but also work on codes, asking to be proficient in one or more progranning languages, the also ask to be involved in support and/or business analysis…

  9. Alan Grimes

    I have been out of work for three years. I have a BS in computer science but it is absolutely worthless because I have been unemployed for three years and that trumps all other concerns. I can’t get a “security clearance” because I will soon have to declare bankruptcy to stop the foreclosure on my house…. oops. I would need some kind of job, even minimum wage, to declare chapter 13 bankruptcy….

    Statistics like those reported here MUST be ignoring people who have been unemployed so long as to be effectively ecxluded from the workforce, the benefits of participating in a civil society, and the bare necessities of life. =|

    Please put me in contact with those people offering $25/hr, I want that job!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. A lot of truth in what has been written here. Truth meaning that it largely comports with my experience. I have been unemployed for about 16 of the last 19 months. Unemployment benefits end this coming Saturday.

    I was an IT Director for a large healthcare organization. They outsourced/eliminated 4,000 jobs last year and so went my job and the jobs of the people who reported to me. I have applied for 128 jobs and had about 25 interviews. Without going into details, bottom line: HR people are largely inept, hiring managers don’t truly know what they are looking for in terms of people, and executives are hell bent on paying less and less. Some full-time employees that I used to work with were on state public assistance because they could not live on the wages paid. Ouch. I filed for bankruptcy this past June and am down $98,000 in legal fees due to a divorce that has dragged on for 3.5+ years. Ultimately, society disintegrates when the fabric of society becomes so frayed because people cannot afford to eat and have shelter and stability. A professional colleague is suggesting that I just settle for an early retirement and take a $40k or so a year job and just forget about returning to the corporate rat race. I may have no choice.

  11. Tan Veers

    The root of the problem is offshoring. I work for a big IT company and only a few years ago we had 80/20 ratio, 80% IT staff in the US and 20% in India. And now pretty much all experienced IT professionals in US have been laid off. We now have a ratio of 10/90; where 90% of the workforce is from India.

    The few IT job openings we see are low-pay and requires 50 hours work week. And since there are too many unemployed IT professionals; the salary is going down even further.

    To be honest, even though I am experienced but I fear for my future. Not that I have no skills or I have no desire to learn new skills and be competitive; I fear because pretty much all well-paid jobs are being offshored. The bigwigs are filling their pockets and throwing the middle-class into deep depression. And don’t even look for any hopes towards the Government. They have already sold their souls to the corporates. We need a revolution!

  12. Mario Costa

    The system is rigged! Big companies pay politicians to make sure the H1B working bees keep coming to take our jobs. All with the lame excuse that there are not enough candidates to fill all open positions.

    The freelance websites are an even bigger joke. Folks ask for all kinds of credential and experience but are only willing to pay minimum wages.

    Two years ago I decided to get out of this vicious cycle and try to venture on my own. Called a few ex-colleagues, brainstormed some ideas, which we’ve been trying to develop. It’s not easy and there’s no guarantee we’ll succeed…but we have to keep trying.

  13. Am I a programmer that does web apps or a web developer that programs? Why were there more web developer jobs listed than software architects?
    Shouldn’t there be more software architect jobs if they have a lower unemployment rate?

  14. Rich in name only

    You know what I want to see? I want to see an article like this include what the wages in IT jobs are doing as jobs disappear or get created. To me, it’s not enough to say “yes there are jobs opening up” while leaving off the lower wages that these jobs are opening up with.

    IT’s a tough industry to be in now. Just to get through mindless HR screening you almost always have to have a degree at some point and to many of us that means student loan payments.

    I’m 33 and a network admin, and CAN’T afford to live on my own and I’m 10 years in for working in IT because of student loans. Regardless of how many jobs get created, it’s MEANINGLESS if they pay peanuts and we can’t actually afford to do anything.

  15. Arthur Burns

    Dice deleted my last comment so I’ll try again. The unemployment participation rate is at a 38 year low, and the jobs being created per the Dept. of Labor are part-time retail jobs and service sector jobs, yet we are supposed to believe these ridiculous unemployment numbers for IT workers? Just don’t count those unemployed and not seeking a job for the last four weeks and presto – magic numbers and a strong economy.