IT employment grows, but barely

Verizon strike skews unemployment report

The U.S. Labor Department reported Friday that no new net jobs across all industries were added in August, but IT hiring may have fared a little better.

The government said the information industry saw an employment decline in August of 48,000 workers, but most of that decline, 45,000 workers, was the result of a strike by Verizon workers last month.

That prompted the TechServe Alliance, an industry group that represents IT services companies, to offer two versions of its monthly analysis of IT hiring. If the 45,000 striking telecommunications workers are calculated back into the government's IT employment total, then IT employment overall increased from the prior month by .05% or 2,100.

That increase puts the year-to-year change in IT employment up 2.71%, to 4.053 million workers, according to the industry group.

"While we recognize the fragility of the economy and the labor markets, we continue to see strong demand for IT professionals," said Mark Roberts, the TechServe CEO.

If the striking workers are counted as job losses during August, then IT employment was down overall .17% or by 7,000 workers.

Janco Associates, which analyzes salary and hiring trends, agrees that the strike skewed the employment numbers downward, but the firm says it is beginning to see "significant softening" in hiring, particularly since the stock market losses last month.

"We do see a downturn in hiring of IT professionals," said Janco CEO Victor Janulaitis. "Most companies are very unsure about what's going to happen." Janco's analysis of the government's IT employment data, which counts in the loss of telecommunications jobs in August, says that in total, IT employment has only risen .5% in the last 12 months.

Patrick Thibodeau covers SaaS and enterprise applications, outsourcing, government IT policies, data centers and IT workforce issues for Computerworld. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @DCgov or subscribe to Patrick's RSS feed . His e-mail address is pthibodeau@computerworld.com.

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