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New IT Consulting Jobs Grow Slightly, But Boom Times Are Long Gone

The Labor Department says employment in the field grew by about 4,500 last month, but is still 18% under its peak in early 2001.
New jobs in one category of technology employment, IT consultants, are on the rise, albeit slightly.

Professional- and technical-services firms specializing in computer-systems design and related services employed nearly 1.103 million Americans in May, up 4,500 from April, the Department of Labor reported Friday in its monthly payroll survey of employers. The figures are seasonally adjusted. The sector surveyed also includes separate IT subsidiaries of large companies.

To put that gain in perspective, however, computer systems design professional-services firms employed 242,500 fewer people last month than they did when employment in this sector topped out at nearly 1.35 million workers in March 2001. That represents a nearly 18% drop in employment since its peak.

Employment among these companies bottomed out last August at just under 1.095 million. Since then, except for one month, employment has hovered slightly above 1.1 million. A year ago, the sector employed 7,700 more workers than it did last month.

Few experts see employment among these consulting firms reaching levels of the early 2000s anytime soon. Around the turn of the millennium, many companies found themselves short-staffed, and turned to outside consultants to help remediate Y2K problems, deploy enterprise systems, and implement Internet platforms. That situation no longer exists.