Two Tales of the IT Job Market from the Same Report

Susan Hall
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Different analysts see different things in the job numbers for April posted Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The economy overall has been creating nearly 200,000 jobs a month during 2013, according to The New York Times, and the overall unemployment rate stands at 7.5 percent. The IT unemployment rate, however, stood at 3.5 percent in the first quarter.

However, the takeaway from the report for Victor Janulaitis, CEO of Janco Associates, is that growth of IT jobs has fallen from a peak of 11,700 jobs added in January to only 4,600 in April.

He’s looking at four job categories in the report: telecommunications; data processing, hosting and related services; other information services; and computer systems design and related services.

“When we look at the BLS data for the number IT pros employed and compare that with our own independent survey of 98 CIOs in North America, a strong case can be made that IT hiring will not improve significantly for some time,” says Janulaitis. “Our data shows that fewer than one in 10 of the CIOs are looking to expand the size of their IT departments. But on the bright side, we continue to see demand for mid-level security and compliance managers to assist with the implementations of more ‘web-enabled’ applications and meeting compliance requirements.”

Janulaitis finds three months of decline, attributed in part to sequestration, taxes related to health reform and other factors, and worries that the economy is not growing fast enough to support spending on IT.

David Foote, CEO of Foote Partners, meanwhile, adds in management and technical consulting, which added 5,700 jobs last month. In all, that category has added 71,500 positions since April 2012.

Two points from his analysis of the April numbers:

  • IT added 9,700 new jobs in April, slightly higher than average IT monthly job growth in 2012.
  • IT job growth is averaging 13,250 new jobs per month in 2013, significantly more than last year’s 9,442 average.

He sees momentum in IT hiring.

Says Foote: “Momentum means everything when it comes to hiring trends; IT jobs have it, but many other segments of the labor market simply do not.”

He, of course, has long argued that the BLS categories fail to fully capture the full range of IT workers, many of them in “hybrid” business-IT positions.

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