Tech Unemployment Rose to 2 Percent in February, a Slight Uptick

With organizations everywhere scrambling to hire all kinds of technologists, the tech unemployment rate has remained notably low for many months. However, a new analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data by CompTIA shows tech unemployment ticked up a bit in February.

Specifically, the unemployment rate increased from 1.7 percent in January to 2 percent in February. That’s still remarkably low by tech-industry standards, and in line with recent history (between August and December 2021, for example, the rate fluctuated between 1.5 percent and 2 percent, gusting up to 2.6 percent in November).

That widespread demand is ultimately beneficial for technologists, giving them additional leverage when negotiating for new roles and higher compensation. According to the latest Dice Salary Report, the average technologist salary increased 6.9 percent between 2020 and 2021, exceeding six figures ($104,566). For highly skilled technologists in specialized disciplines such as data science, those salaries (along with other forms of compensation, such as stock options) can climb even higher.

Many technologists are using the current demand to ask for added benefits such as child/elder care options, training and education, and even wellness programs. Smarter employers are recognizing that they can attract and retain the best talent by offering things their rivals haven’t even considered; you might be surprised by what you can get if you just ask.  

Employer job postings for tech occupations almost reached 388,000 in February, up by almost 50,000 from the month before. Tech companies added 5,300 workers in February, down from 24,300 in January. As you might expect, tech hiring remains strong in longtime tech hubs such as New York City and Seattle, while up-and-coming hubs such as Kansas City and Boise saw notable month-over-month bumps in hiring.