Overall Jobs Picture Mixed, But Tech Called 'Quite Strong'

Susan Hall
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IT Employment Trends to Watch in 2011

Two-in-five IT employers plan to increase hiring in 2011, up 10 percent from 2010.

Two jobs reports released Wednesday give mixed signals about the job market, according to Triangle Business Journal. Payroll processor ADP reported that in the overall economy, employers added 217,000 jobs in February, most in small and midsize businesses. That number had been expected to be 165,000.


The Labor Department will release its figures Friday and for the past several months ADP's numbers have been far more optimistic than the government's, according to Zacks.com.


Meanwhile, outplacement firm Challenger Gray & Christmas reported that announced job cuts grew by 20 percent compared with the month a year ago. It said 50,702 job cuts were reported in February, led by 16,830 positions axed in government and non-profit agencies. That number rose 196 percent from February 2010. And with further pressure to reduce budgets, government job-cutting is expected to continue.


Challenger Gray & Christmas also broke out numbers for the tech sector, with FINS Technology quoting CEO John Challenger saying, "Technology is quite strong right now." It reported 2,549 tech jobs cut in February, little changed from January's 2,300. It reported that layoffs are decreasing in telecommunications as companies such as Verizon and AT&T go into health care IT, but work force reductions are accelerating in electronics.


That report tracks announcements of job cuts. Meanwhile, the group Alliance@IBM says Big Blue laid off at least 612 nationwide, most in its Global Business Services division in February, according to the Poughkeepsie Journal. As in the past, IBM declined to comment. The group called this IBM's first layoffs of the new year.


Meanwhile, I still see reports from various sources showing increased confidence in IT hiring, not only for staff, but also for executives. The most recent Robert Half Professional Employment Report showed a 5 percent net gain in professional-level jobs for the second quarter. That was the same as its first-quarter report. But that number was 7 percent for IT in the second quarter.

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