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7/8/2008
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U.S. IT Employment Keeps Rising, Up 10% From Last Year

IT employment is fairing slightly better than other professions.

Amid a shaky overall job market, U.S. companies kept adding information technology workers in the second quarter, lifting IT jobs more than 2% from the first quarter to hit 4.1 million employed, according to quarterly data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Compared with the second quarter a year ago, U.S. IT employment's up 10%.

U.S. IT employment's at an all-time high, having passed the 4 million job mark for the first time in the first quarter. With layoffs looming in the banking sector, a major employer of IT professionals, IT employment looked poised to falter in the second quarter, yet it held strong. Some tech companies have warned, as Oracle did last week, that sales may be slower in the coming months, again raising questions of whether tech jobs will keep growing. The National Association of Computer Consultant Businesses, which tracks IT jobs monthly using BLS data, says the U.S. added only 1,700 IT jobs in June, compared with 43,000 in May.

U.S. IT unemployment was 2.2% in the second quarter, compared with 2.5% for the management and professional segment overall, which employs 52.7 million people. The quarterly BLS data is based on the averages of its monthly surveys of U.S. households.

Looking at the average of survey data the past four quarters shows similar year-over-year growth to the second quarter alone: 3.96 million IT pros employed, up 10.6% from the average in 2007.

The BLS recognizes eight IT job segments, and InformationWeek analyzes changes in those segments by averaging the past four quarter's surveys, to even out any effects of smaller sample sizes of these groups. IT management jobs continued their growth path, up 16% from a year ago, making up 12% of IT jobs. The IT manager role is on pace to soon pass programmers as the no. 3 largest job category. Programmer jobs fell 4%, to about 528,000 jobs, or 13% of the IT work force. Eight years ago, it was a fourth of the workforce. The most jobs were added in computer scientists and systems analysts (up 13%), software engineers (up 10%), and support specialists (up 10%).

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