IT adds 25,000-plus jobs in 2010

Many miles yet to go on IT hiring front, but trend is in right direction -- for now

IT employment grew by 0.37%, or 14,000 jobs, from January to February, one of the strongest month-to-month gains since 2008, according to the TechServe Alliance, an IT services industry group that analyzes U.S. Labor Department unemployment data.

While IT employment still remains some 200,000 jobs below its 2008 peak of 4 million jobs, this statistical climb out of the hiring abyss is backed anecdotally.

"I am seeing a lot more demand out there," said Scott Archibald, managing director of Bender Consulting, a Houston-based management consulting firm. "As a general trend, I would believe what the numbers are saying at this point."

Archibald said today in an interview at Computerworld's Premier 100 Conference in Phoenix that he is seeing increased hiring demand among some of his firm's customers.

Ben Blanquera, vice president of information services at Progressive Medical Inc. in Westerville, Ohio, said that he is increasingly hearing from recruiters about rising demand for IT workers. "There seems to be a steady uptick" in hiring, but it's "not dramatic," he said.

Blanquera added that his company has been hiring throughout the downturn.

In January, IT employment increased by 12,900 jobs, TechServe Alliance reported.

"Posting an increase of over 25,000 IT jobs during the first two months of the year is both heartening and a positive harbinger for the future, said Mark Roberts, CEO of TechServe Alliance, in a statement. He said the data reflects "renewed optimism" and indicates that businesses are reversing "recession-driven cutbacks."

Separately, The Conference Board, a nonprofit business group, said today that its latest index of employment trends has improved results in four of its eight indicators -- the hiring of temporary employees, job openings, and manufacturing.

The Conference Board aggregates this data to create its Employment Trends Index, which now stands at 93.5, up from 93.2 in January; over the past six months the index has increased 13.4%.

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, send e-mail to pthibodeau@computerworld.com or subscribe to Patrick's RSS feed .

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