Tech’s Unemployment Rate Held Level in Q1

The technology industry’s unemployment rate remained steady in the first quarter of 2017, at 2.5 percent, according to new data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). In addition, unemployment for a handful of key technology segments such as Web developers and computer systems analysts noticeably declined.

The technology industry continues its longtime trend of outperforming the overall U.S. labor market, where the unemployment rate dipped to 4.5 percent in the first quarter.

Anyone who watches BLS data knows that some segments undergo significant quarter-by-quarter swings in employment rates. The market for information security analysts underwent such a shift, for example, jumping from 1.20 percent in the first quarter of 2016 to 10 percent in the first quarter of 2017 (in the fourth quarter of 2016, it hit 6.90 percent). For most technology segments, however, the year-over-year adjustment was less than a percentage point, hinting at stability in the overall market.

In addition to Web developers and computer systems analysts, segments that saw a year-over-year dip in their respective unemployment rates included network and systems administrators, computer & information systems managers, and programmers.

Computer support specialists and software developers, meanwhile, saw their unemployment rates increase year-over-year.

BLS data suggests that the average rate of voluntary quits for technology jobs in the first two months of the quarter, the latest period for which data is available, stood at 617,500, a significant increase from the first quarter of 2016, when the rate hit 584,000. That suggests tech pros kicked off 2017 with a rosier view of the economy, compelling them to leave their current positions in search of new opportunities.

Meanwhile, the total average layoffs and discharges for technology jobs in January and February, the latest months for which data is available, stood at 379,500. That’s a significant decrease from the first quarter of 2016, when average layoffs and discharges for the industry hit 431,000. That’s also a good sign for tech pros across the country, many of whom are on the lookout for signs that the industry’s robust growth could weaken.

For more on voluntary quits and layoffs in the first quarter, download the Dice Tech Employment Snapshot (PDF), which also offers a range of nifty graphics and a breakdown of historical data.

4 Responses to “Tech’s Unemployment Rate Held Level in Q1”

  1. Dan C

    Here’s an idea… if we stop the nonsense with H1b and L1 visas, we might’ve onto something!!

    Given what we’re all witnessing with DJT, and his consistent breaking of campaign promises, I think he’ll not do anything with the stopping of offshoring in any way.

    I feel like saying more, but my fellow Americans already know and can fill in your opinions as you see fit!

    • Kumar Gaurav

      Hi Dan,

      I can understand your stand and feelings. I am really sorry for what happened to americans in the hand of outsourcing companies like infosys, ibm, etc,,,

      I think you are atleast 12 years slow in your response about this outsourcing menace. Damage is already done and we as in employees of every country are looking at bigger evil called AI, Machine learning. Believe me, none of the jobs are coming back. None of the jobs laws are going to have any effect. Infact, IBM made continuous 22 quarters loss. Infosys is struggling. Lot of middle tier employees are laid off in India. All because of Cloud, AI, ML.

      Hence, stop talking about H-1B and other stuff. They are not relevant anymore. By spending your energy on this, you are loosing the precious time to upskill/reskill yourself in those happening skills.

      Your well wisher!

  2. Deepak vutla

    The Post says that, there is consistency in the job market in the overall view point. IT Systems Admins and Network engineers are got hit the worse, as AI is replacing their jobs NOT the Immigrants. As we speak the above pdf sheet says there is less no of layoffs when you compared with 1st Quarter of 2016. the increase in the volunteer quits is because of steady economy and less unemployment. technically the job market was good and has nothing to do with the immigrants.

  3. As long as we restrict people coming in to fill sectors where the unemployment is below frictional levels in sectors like IT companies are left with no choice but to outsource. If they can not find the availability of skilled workers in the US they will find them wherever they are. If they let additional IT workers there are many companies I know of that would gladly pay triple what they pay for the same IT worker. The US would benefit as the dollars would stay on shore and the spending would trickle down creating many more US jobs. Government would get more taxes, construction would build more houses, auto would sell more cars . . .