Tech Unemployment Dipped Last Quarter

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Some pundits and analysts continue to worry that startups are in a bubble in danger of imminent popping. In major tech hubs such as San Francisco and Seattle, a number of prominent companies (including, reportedly, Twitter) have sliced staff and cut back on ambitious plans.

Despite those red flags, the technology industry’s unemployment rate dipped in the third quarter of 2016, hitting 2.8 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In the third quarter of 2015, the rate stood at 3.0 percent. The technology industry continues to outperform the overall U.S. labor market, where the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.9 percent in the third quarter.

As expected, some of the technology segments monitored by the BLS have experienced notable swings in their employment rates over the past twelve months. For example, network and systems administrators saw their unemployment rate dip from 5 percent in the third quarter of 2015 to 0.6 percent in the third quarter of this year. The unemployment rate for programmers, on the other hand, rose from 2.6 percent to 3.9 percent during the same period.

Web developers, computer support specialists, computer systems analysts, software developers, and network architects all saw their respective unemployment rates go down year-over-year. Computer & information systems managers and information security analysts joined programmers as segments that have seen their rates rise.

BLS data suggests that the average rate of voluntary quits for the first two months of the quarter, the latest period for which data is available, stood at 571,000 on average, a significant increase from the third quarter of 2015, when the rate hit 493,000 on average. That rate suggests that technology professionals continue to feel confidence in the strength of the economy, and are striking out on their own to find new opportunities with better pay and benefits.

Preliminary BLS data also suggests that total average layoffs and discharges for July and August, the latest months for which data is available, was 391,000. That’s a small increase from the third quarter of 2015, when average layoffs and discharges stood at 381,000.

For more on voluntary quits and layoffs in the third quarter, download the Dice Tech Employment Snapshot (PDF), which also offers a range of nifty graphics, as well as a breakdown of historical data.

3 Responses to “Tech Unemployment Dipped Last Quarter”

  1. Andrew Baxter

    As someone who is new to the industry with no experience, just getting your resume looked at can be a challenge. No employer seems to want to take the time to train an entry level candidate or spend the time developing one.

  2. Gregory Harris

    Andrew Baxter: Pretty true, but even there, a few tips to make you stand out.

    1) Do other cool, soft skill things than just be a coding geek. I do like seeing some diversity in your background. Get a minor in Communications, join Toastmasters, take a project management certification class, etc. Don’t just be another person out of school who knows Java…

    2) Touch up your Social Media, the first thing I do after a resume glance is hit you up on Linkedin and Facebook. Make sure I see what I should be seeing. You’d be amazed at how often what I see in entry level folk are the college drunk pics, etc…

    3) Show that you are adaptable, projects written in many different languages get my attention fast.

    4) More often than not, it’s who you know too, find out where the recruiters and company folk are for the people you’re targeting and get to know them.

    It’s a lot, but amongst these tips, figure out where you’re weakest and work on it…