Tech Unemployment Rate in April Rose to 1.7 Percent, a Slight Uptick

The unemployment rate for tech occupations hit 1.7 percent in April, a slight uptick from 1.4 percent in March, according to a new CompTIA analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data. 

Despite that uptick, tech unemployment remains historically low. Employer job postings for technology occupations surpassed 443,000 in April, totaling 1.6 million in 2020 so far—a 40 percent increase year-over-year, CompTIA added

“Despite the growing chatter around economic headwinds, it was another solid month of tech employment gains and hiring activity momentum,” Tim Herbert, chief research officer at CompTIA, wrote in a statement. Demand was particularly strong for software developers and engineers (which accounted for 30 percent of all job postings), along with IT project managers, IT support specialists, systems engineers and architects, and network engineers and architects.

Demand for tech talent has spiked compensation over the past few years; the average tech salary now stands at $104,566, according to the most recent Dice Tech Salary Report, having risen 6.9 percent between 2020 and 2021. For specialized occupations such as machine-learning specialist or data scientist, compensation can climb to a much higher peak, particularly at companies with the budgets to offer massive blocks of stock options and other benefits. 

The latest unemployment rate is also a healthy reminder that, even though some famous companies might be instituting hiring freezes or pay cuts in response to business slowdowns, many organizations continue to hire aggressively. In many ways, these organizations have no choice; whatever’s going on in the larger world, they still need apps built, tech infrastructure maintained and protected, and data analyzed for crucial strategic insights. 

However, just because there’s extraordinary demand for technologists doesn’t mean companies will hire just anyone—they want technologists who’ve mastered vital skills such as software development and project management, as well as programming languages and tools such as SQL, Python, and Java. Whenever you apply to a new position, make sure you have all the skills the employer wants—and make sure to highlight those skills on your resume and application materials

7 Responses to “Tech Unemployment Rate in April Rose to 1.7 Percent, a Slight Uptick”

  1. jake leone

    Elon Musk recently tweeted that Americans run from their jobs, Chinese workers run to their jobs. To some (small) extent, this is true. But it isn’t the whole story. Let’s not give in to the confirmation biases of a trouble worried manager.
    I run to my job, I love doing software dev, it is a lot of fun and that hasn’t changed for 30 years. I enjoy my job, more than I have ever enjoyed a vacation.
    That being said, my wife hates my job. My family hated my job.
    I grew up with a strong work ethic, I was always pressured to work. Of course, the jobs I was being pushed towards were heavy lifting, sweaty, tedious, and high pressure jobs (don’t kid yourself, most home contractors and small business people earn their living with blood, sweat, worry, and tears).
    I found that doing software was none of that. Yes, at times high pressure, but I can handle it, and it has always been a joy to persevere.
    So Elon has to understand, we are not all millionaires and billionaires. Who can hire big lawyers to write a fool-proof prenup that prevents our spouses from taking everything we literally need to do our job.
    Similaraly, we don’t have enough money, and work doesn’t offer this: home health care for dependents who are sick and need near full-time care.
    In my twenties, hey, I could do work 7-days a week, for 16 hours a day (and did in fact do that while testing and writing software). But now that I have responsibilities, I cannot do that.
    So what we see in China, probably isn’t a cultural thing so much as it could be a demographic thing. Younger workers, myself when I was younger included, can work 24×7.
    Now that America’s demographic (the baby-boom) is getting older, we should not make unqualified statements about the situation.
    If we truly want to scale the output of the American workforce, we can’t do a one-dimensional solution (i.e. everyone work long hours). Nearing full employment, we can’t just hire off the street so easily. With the high cost of housing, we can’t just import a workforce. These simple, one-dimensional scaling solutions (management loves these kind of solutions, but they are just not attainable) will not work so well, if at all.
    We need to scale the support services, scale the potential payback for hard work (actually Silicon Valley is good at this with stock grants). Build a lot more housing.
    Literally, if the problem were how to pack a garage space with stuff. So we could just put everything on the floor, that works for a while. But then we run out of space and other needed aspects, such as enter-ability of the garage are lost. If we talk to the business man, they will say buy another garage or throw out the junk. In other words, build another factory somewhere else (China) or fire some workers. if We turn to the engineer, who will recommend shelving and overhead storage (this won’t work for ever, but for a while you will get 3-10x more storage space, in the same garage.
    Similarly, the U.S. economy. We need more workers, we will need numerous, specialized solutions, it is a tough problem, it is a headache. It is the problem that hurts the per dollar output of American workers vs. foreign workers. But that is what must be done. We solve these problems, which are not easy, because it must be done if Americans are to progress.
    Of course, another way is to print money, and then watch unscalable commodities skyrocket, and the resulting inflation affect the price of everything. We’ve tried that for 20 years now, now homes are approaching 1 million a piece, gasoline might go to 10$/gallon. That might not affect Elon, probably will help him, but does it help the U.S. standard of living? No way, it is the way of the Weimar.

    • jake leone

      BTW, the engineering solutions go on 4ever. And they include compression (converting printed docs/books to electronic format). And replacing existing sets of items with multipurpose items. And, this should not be lost. Many (not all) of the engineering solutions, offer exponential rates of return on investment.

  2. Daniel

    I see the the tech landscape as a joke. They use job postings then pass over american workers to hire less qualified and cheaper foreigners. Not all companies but enough. Plus companies list jobs that do not exist or misrepresent jobs that is why I actually started my own non tech business to have a seperate source of income.

    • Daniel Tarr

      I’m in the same boat and have also started my own company, non tech as a buffer to the horrid amount of problems getting employed in tech in my area. Remote is not much better. Too many people chasing too few jobs.
      If any of the answers to the following are true you may need help.
      NO hours for family after work
      Not enough money or time freedom
      No real assets built in case something happens to you
      Email me if you want more information about what I do outside IT.

  3. Jeanette

    Then why are the salaries so low? I have been seeing a major decrease. Of course they want entry level. The entry level rate is lower than most retail jobs. Also, less than what I started at 15 years ago. What gives?

    Getting a call for a tier 2/3 desktop role and hearing $15 an hour? No benefits. Company was in California, position was remote.

    BTW, can’t get a job to save myself. I made the mistake of refusing one offer because I was having a family issue that had to be addressed. I am also over 50.