Analysts offer different views of May IT labor data

One group sees a solid IT hiring gain in May; another sees net loss of 100 jobs

The U.S. labor report this month was a quirky one, inflated by Census hiring, and met with mostly negative reviews.

But private analyst reports on IT hiring are mixed, with one group reporting strong hiring and the other saying it was flat.

TechServe Alliance had a positive view, reporting a gain of 7,300 IT jobs to about 3.9 million in May, reflecting a steady gain since the start of this year. The Alexandria, Va.-based group represents IT services firms, clients, consultants and suppliers.

In a statement, TechServe Alliance CEO Mark Roberts said "the IT sector remains on a steady growth trajectory."

IT workforce analyst firm Foote Partners LLC in Vero Beach, Fla., had a different assesment of the IT jobs market. Foote, which looks specifically at what it characterizes as five bellwether IT job segments, showed a net loss of 100 IT-related jobs in May.

Overall, the national payroll grew by 431,000 workers, but that included the hiring of 411,000 temporary Census employees, according to government figures.

U.S. government employment categories do not match IT job titles perfectly, and the various groups and analysts that track IT hiring can use a different mix of labor of data to arrive at their month-to month comparisons.

The categories that Foote watches include data processing, hosting, related services; computer and peripherals equipment; communication equipment. Computer systems design and related services is another area.

Broadly, Foote characterized the market as volatile.

In April, both Foote and TechServe were more in agreement In terms of the broader IT employment numbers . TechServe said employers added 17,300 jobs in April, while Foote said its analysis of IT employment saw a net gain of 8,800 jobs.

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 .

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Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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