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.