U.S. Tech Employment Hits Its Highest Point In Seven Years - InformationWeek

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7/18/2007
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U.S. Tech Employment Hits Its Highest Point In Seven Years

The 2% unemployment rate matches other professional categories and is a big improvement from 5% in 2004.

The unemployment rate for IT occupations fell to 2%, and total IT employment has reached nearly 3.6 million, better than it has been the past seven years, according to the most recent household employment survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The results paint a much better picture for the health of the IT profession than during the recession of 2003 and 2004, when the IT unemployment rate hit 5.3%. But a shift in the type of work U.S. tech workers do also is continuing. The biggest job gains the past year come for software engineers, IT managers, and network systems analysts. Programmers and support specialists continue to lose jobs.

Total IT employment of 3.58 million and the size of the available IT workforce -- 3.65 million working or unemployed -- are at their highest levels since the BLS started using these eight computer-related job categories in 2000. At 2%, the tech unemployment rate matches that of the larger management and professional class measured by BLS. Employers added about 93,000 computer-related jobs from a year ago.

The figures are based on an InformationWeek analysis averaging quarterly BLS household surveys for the past 12 months, as of June.

Programmers remain the third largest IT job category, employing more than a half million people and providing 15% of computer-related jobs. Programmer employment is down 26% from 2001, and 3% from a year ago. Support specialist jobs slipped 4%, and make up 9% of the tech workforce.

IT management jobs continue to grow, providing 12% (423,000) of computer-related jobs. Manager jobs are up more than 50% since 2001 and 22% since 2004, as more IT pros take a bigger role leading projects, managing systems, and coordinating outsourcers and others vendors.

Twenty-five percent of tech pros are employed as software engineers, and 21% as computer scientists and system analysts. Engineer jobs grew 3%, computer scientist and analyst jobs dipped 1%.

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