North Carolina's IT Hiring Has Peaked? Not Likely

Susan Hall

Back in March, named Raleigh, N.C., the city with the fastest-growing IT job market. It ranked No. 9 in Forbes' list for the best cities for tech jobs.

Now the North Carolina Technology Association says job growth in the state has peaked? The Charlotte Business Journal quotes the association's latest report saying:

There is no reason to be too optimistic in the current economic situation. We believe that demand for IT professionals in the state has peaked and will only expand again after general economic growth is demonstrated.

It bases that opinion on the 5,140 IT job openings in June, about 1 percent more than the 5,090 available jobs reported in May. But 5,510 job openings were reported in April and the nearly 6,000 in March.

Still, it's an improvement from the 4,090 IT job openings reported in June 2011. While some analysts report slowdowns in IT hiring as uncertainty grows about the economy, a June Dice report found 73 percent of 800 hiring managers surveyed nationwide said they plan to hire in the second half of the year. (Full disclosure: I write for Dice, too.)

North Carolina's biggest losses in tech jobs have been in defense, where cutbacks are affecting other regions as well. The association previously said that gains in IT hiring by financial services in some cases has more than offset the losses. With the Supreme Court's recent health care decision, the state must set up its health insurance exchange and health care organizations must continue work toward Meaningful Use of electronic health records and other technology initiatives to improve care.

And Red Hat plans to hire more than 1,000 people this year and it's moving to downtown Raleigh, fueling a revitalization of the area. Citrix is locating nearby, moving a divisional headquarters there, with plans to add 337 jobs over five years.

And LPL Financial, the nation’s largest independent investment broker-dealer, is opening an IT hub in Charlotte, adding 100 jobs by the end of next year.

So I think that saying hiring has peaked is too strong. Most companies realize they must continue their IT projects to remain competitive and will continue hiring to do so.

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