That leads to the question of how healthy the IT job market is. We note in our coverage that the U.S. IT unemployment rate is 2.3%, using the average of the past four quarters of data from the Current Population Survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That compares with 2.2% across all management and professional jobs. The days of 5.5% unemployment in 2003 and 2004 have passed, but it's been hard transition that's left total jobs just above where they were before the bust.
Here are a few more data points to draw out of the BLS data, comparing the four quarters ended March 30 to the same period in 2004:
* About 3.49 million IT pros are employed, with a workforce of about 3.56 million. Neither number changed notably the past year, and IT jobs are up about 5% since the depths of 2004.
* The bulk of job growth since 2004 has been management (up 18%) and software engineers (up 12%). These are based on descriptions of work, not job titles.
* Software engineers is the largest IT job category, employing 25% of IT pros. Next is computer scientists and system analysts (20%), and third is programmers (16%).
* The programmer category lost the most jobs, down 5% since 2004 after being up about the same amount last year. It's down 26% since 2001, but it's stabilized somewhat since the plunge after 2001. Programmer employment has been somewhere just above a half million jobs for each of the past four years.
We're working on our package of career articles around our annual Salary Survey (publishing April 30), if you have a story of transition in an IT career -up, down, or out-you want to share, share it here with your peers, or drop us a message.