Tech Unemployment Rate Hit 2.2 Percent in September

The tech unemployment rate hit 2.2 percent in September, a slight but noticeable increase from 1.5 percent in August, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Despite that uptick, overall hiring within the tech industry remains strong. CompTIA, a nonprofit association for the IT industry, estimated that the economy added 140,000 tech occupations in September—the 10th consecutive month of growth. Overall, the number of tech occupations in all sectors of the U.S. economy stands at 5.6 million. 

For employers across the country, hiring skilled cybersecurity professionals remains a challenge. “It’s been an especially challenging period on the cybersecurity front with attacks on critical infrastructure, the growing threat of ransomware, and of course, new vulnerabilities brought on by the pandemic” Tim Herbert, executive vice president for research and market intelligence at CompTIA, wrote in a statement accompanying the association’s data. “The persistently tight labor market for cybersecurity professionals means employers must cast an even wider net and look internally to develop talent from within their own ranks.”

Another thing to note: Roughly 14 percent of the “emerging tech job postings” were in artificial intelligence (A.I.). Although the broader public might regard A.I. and machine learning as something of a niche industry, technologists are increasingly aware of how A.I. is permeating every aspect of the tech stack. Learning A.I. skills can make you more valuable to employers, whether you use those skills in the service of cybersecurity, datacenter infrastructure, or making consumer-facing services “smarter.”

Adopting A.I. and machine-learning skills can also prove extremely lucrative, as well. O’Reilly estimates the average salary of data and A.I. professionals at $146,000 per year (that’s from 2,778 respondents in the U.S. and 284 in the U.K.), and salaries have increased at an annual average of 2.25 percent. Average compensation was highest in California ($176,000), home of Silicon Valley giants such as Google.

If you want to jump into a highly specialized role such as A.I. developer or cybersecurity expert, though, you’ll need to master a number of complex, rapidly evolving skills. Around 64 percent of respondents to a recent O’Reilly survey said they participated in training or certification courses, and 31 percent claimed to have engaged in 100 hours of training over the past year. While employers remain desperate for technologists, they’re only going to hire those with the skills to actually get things done.  

4 Responses to “Tech Unemployment Rate Hit 2.2 Percent in September”

  1. Jake Leone

    They are talking about Stagflation on NPR. Tech will be lagging indicator in this economy, but it is creeping into tech. If we continue to allow the H-1b visa to be used as an easy way to Offshore Outsourcing, the Stagnation part of the “Stagflation” problem, will get worse.

    The inflation part can only be alleviated by freeing up industry to produce goods. The Democrats have no concept on how to do this, and they never think about it. They think about where and how to get campaign contributions and how to appease special interest groups like the Sierra Club.

    Republicans are terrible at existential problems, we know this. Trump bumbled badly. Conservatives still don’t get the need for masks, vaccination, the climate crisis. But Democrats don’t get the fact that restricting industry leads to supply problems. And appeasing the Offshore Outsourcing industry and/or Big Tech companies with huge offshore contingents, just leads to massive job losses.

    I have long resigned to this path for government – Just let government stagnate. Whenever the Republicans or the Democrats were deadlocked (ex: Clinton Administration 2nd term) and the economy was not tending toward recession, we had good economic growth.

    When they made changes (for example raising the H-1b visas to 192,000/yr), we quickly went into recession.

    People in private industry typically don’t have pension plans, they are lucky to have medical/dental. That means they create more per dollar unit forked out by the consumer. But government workers have an easy path with a lifetime pension and excellent benefits, they are a huge drag on the economy. Government, not American engineers, is the drag on the U.S. economy. If you just create conditions where private industry must hire Americans (as opposed to the government created indentured foreign workforce). The economy will come back and we will be back to the 2% unemployment rate, for all occupations, that we had under the Trump administration (again deadlocked with Democrats).

      • Jake Leone

        People in Mexico make 1$/hr, are there any U.S. Republicans in the Mexican government, no, for the most part just Socialists down in Mexico. Further, what drives wages up is a scarcity of workers, not an oversupply. What drives wages up is keeping as many people in a job so we are not all out there looking at the same time.

        When we give industry an indentured workforce, indentured because of policies in our government, we have go back to the days of slavery to really understand the dynamic. Labor gets so cheap under slavery, that it is wasted on non-productive tasks like menial house hold tasks. Like the manual picking of cotton, instead of letting a harvesting machine. The same thing happens in software, I can assure you. As you get too many workers, managers start devaluing the time of the software workforce. Managers stop buying time-saving equipment and other tools.

        Further, when we outsource jobs, the dollars leave the United States. The dollars start circulating outside of the country. This tends to devalue the U.S. dollar and raise the cost of goods coming from abroad. It can only be temporarily thwarted by continuing to contract for goods and services in lower wage countries (and lower cost suppliers), eventually that stops (because the world is finite) and massive inflation sets in.

        And remember, right now we are seeing some of what that would be like with the inflation we are experiencing from import slowdown. It will be much worse when reach the last lower than us economy. Because when people and countries start dropping the dollar, the Fed will start raising interest rates (but inflation will not abate).

        So you can blab all you want about Republicans would have everyone working for 10 cents an hours. It simply will not happen, if we encourage productivity here in America. If instead, we discourage production in the United States and encourage the removal of jobs. What can happen is that people will start working for 1000$/hr, but that 1000$ will be worth 10 cents in today’s currency.