Tech Unemployment Hit 2.9 Percent in November


Tech unemployment hit 2.9 percent in November, suggesting that the market for technology professionals remains strong.

That number also represents a noticeable year-over-year decline; in November 2015, the tech unemployment rate stood at 3.4 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which produces the data every month.

The unemployment rate for the general economy hit 4.6 percent in November, the lowest level since August 2007.

Of course, the unemployment rates for various tech professions swing throughout the year; computer-support specialists, for instance, saw their unemployment increase from 1.20 percent to 4 percent between the second and third quarters of 2016. That seasonal flux makes it especially important to focus on year-over-year unemployment rates as an industry barometer, as opposed to month-over-month or quarter-over-quarter.

The unemployment rate isn’t the only good economic news for tech professionals. A recent Dice analysis of BLS data suggested that voluntary quits among tech pros averaged 560,250 per month for the first eight months of 2016. That’s a significant increase over the same period in 2015, when voluntary quits averaged 507,875 per month.

In the minds of most economists, a higher level of voluntary quits means that more professionals, confident that they can quickly land a new position, are quitting their jobs in search of better opportunities.

Although nobody can predict the future, low unemployment, combined with this elevated rate of voluntary quits, hints that the market for tech professionals may very well remain robust through the beginning of next year. That being said, a recent Dice survey found that 68 percent of hiring managers anticipate an elevated level of tech-related hiring in 2017—a robust number, but also a 10-point drop from the same survey a year ago. There’s always the potential for a market to cool off, in other words.

With that in mind, it pays for everyone to continue polishing his or her skills—at the very least, you never know when a new, interesting opportunity might arise.

5 Responses to “Tech Unemployment Hit 2.9 Percent in November”

  1. livinDream

    My voluntary quit was due to the contract company telling me my wages were being cut by 50%! I had excellent performance reviews with raises for the four years I was on the job. I could get a less difficult job for that amount of money and not feel I was giving my education away. This voluntary quit caused hardship–the same as a 50% pay cut. It put me back on unemployment. I received most of my tech degree with a Pell grant! Corporations are manipulating shareholder value by contracting the majority of their labor. Contract companies are in control of wages due to this and are taking full advantage. Now add H-1B abuse…the U.S. government needs to wake up!

  2. Yes, whenever I read these I wonder how many uncounted people are in the shadows. All the developers and programmers who got laid off 2+ years ago, are they included in these numbers? I don’t think so… And don’t get me started on the H1-B abuse…

  3. Well, I am unemployed same way. Except I am a US citizen, I have worked for Agency for 13 years. I have earned a MSCS degree from the abet accredited University.
    What I can do if the employer and HR do not care about productivity but rather they care for Lot4Less discount store.

  4. I would agree with all these posts. The tech sector has been and will continue to be abused in this manner until we can find a solution or the laws can be changed. I have stated for years the employment agencies need to be banned. It is legalized prostitution of the tech employees – it doesn’t matter if they have many, many certifications or an ABET Masters we are all abused by these agencies. Nothing forces the corporations to hire the employees providing the true compensation and benefits we deserve and have earned. I hate to say, but if the laws won’t be enacted, then maybe unionizing may be the only solution and I truly hate the idea and yes, I know all the negatives associated with this. The tech sector is being treated like a trade more and more every day. What other way is there to fix this? We can’t continue being pipped out losing almost half our wages and benefits to our our the employment agencies. This has happen to me twice on my life in two very different states, and it doesn’t seem to be going away. I’m referring to employment agencies having a position available which you must take while on unemployment. Then you are nearly stuck. No time for interviews, or studying, crappy benefits, no raises for years on end while the pimp sits back a counts your earnings and the actual employer (where assigned) is in no danger of worrying about higher unemployment insurance should they need to lay you off. Good for everyone except you.