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IT Job Stats: Grim, But Some Hopeful Signs

Fewer jobs were lost in bellwether IT job segments in June than in May.

IT employment did not escape unscathed the latest U.S. employment numbers for June.

Overall national employment reached 9.5% and nearly 470,000 jobs were lost -- but there was some encouraging news in the numbers for IT workers, according to an analysis released Wednesday by Foote Partners.

The IT workforce research firm noted that 1,800 fewer jobs were lost in bellwether IT job segments in June than in May, and one segment -- data processing/hosting/related services -- added 600 jobs after four consecutive months of job losses in the category.

"But I think the more positive story, and also the better indicator of overall performance in the IT workforce," said CEO David Foote, "is instead demand trends for specific categories of IT skills. The recession has had minimal impact on demand for IT skills in the areas such as architecture, business process, security, communications, e-commerce, and several ERP and infrastructure specializations."

However, tech workers in the management/technical consulting services segment and also those in the communications equipment segment lost total positions -- 1,100 and 2,100, respectively. At the same time, the computer and peripheral equipment category lost 900 fewer jobs in June than in May, "not exactly good news but certainly some encouragement," said Foote.

Foote observed that IT job security in these trying times depends more on the combinations of worker skills rather than the job or job title.

"Survivors," he said, "are the shrewd IT professionals who have always been the most aggressive and alert in directing their career development, managing to always be out front of the demand for skills. They may not even be the hardest workers, but they are certainly the most effective."

InformationWeek has published an in-depth report on the current state of IT salaries. Download the report here (registration required).

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