IT Job Prospects Are Looking up in the 'Rust Belt'

Don Tennant

If you happen to live in the "rust belt" that extends from Michigan, swings down through Ohio and curves up to include western Pennsylvania, no one needs to tell you that your area was particularly hard hit by the recession. The good news is that tech jobs appear to be making a comeback in the region.


IT employment services provider Dice.com has come up with a list of the 10 fastest-growing metro areas in the country as determined by the number of IT job postings listed on its site, and five of the top six are squarely in rust-belt country. Here's the list, with the growth rate from Feb. 1, 2010 to Feb. 1, 2011, along with the numbers of job postings behind those percentages:


  1. Detroit, 101 percent (408 to 822)
  2. Cincinnati, 75 percent (309 to 540)
  3. Cleveland, 62 percent (294 to 476)
  4. Columbus, 57 percent (515 to 808)
  5. Seattle, 54 percent (1,465 to 2,259)
  6. Pittsburgh, 45 percent (436 to 631)
  7. Miami, 42.5 percent (374 to 533)
  8. Jacksonville, 41 percent (269 to 380)
  9. Chicago, 40 percent (2,309 to 3,236)
  10. Silicon Valley, 39.5 percent (3,435 to 4,792)


I spoke with Dice Senior Vice President Tom Silver about the list, and asked him whether we can conclude from it that the rust belt is morphing into a tech belt. He clearly saw that as a bit of a stretch:

It certainly is moving more in that direction, but I would look at it a little bit differently. For the most part the "rust belt," if you want to call it that, certainly is catching up in terms of gradual improvement in overall economic conditions and demand for tech professionals. So for one who has tech skills, it's continuing a positive trend. We've seen growth in those areas that are known for tech interest and being tech-centric types of markets, and now that's extending into other parts of the country.

I asked him what drove Detroit to the top of the list. His response:

It's a little bit of a bounce back-Detroit might have been hit harder than other parts of the country. So to some extent we're just seeing a recovery there that's a reflection of the fact that it got hit pretty hard. We're also seeing some indications that the automotive industry is improving. So I think gradually people are realizing that Detroit, despite the headlines, anyway, is not such a horrible place. Little by little, as the economy improves, Detroit stands to benefit from that recovery.

I also asked Silver what we can make of the fact that half of the cities on the list are in Ohio and Florida, and he said there, too, it's a recession recovery thing:

Ohio certainly has its fair share of manufacturing, and it took a pretty big hit, and is now recovering. And certainly Florida was disproportionately hit by some of the financial crisis issues, particularly real estate. So that's also a sign of some recovery happening there.

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Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Feb 11, 2011 9:10 AM Warior Warior  says:

Thanks for informing the number of job gain again. I think the number of jobs gaining above is not enough for example Detroit go up to 408 to 822 and Silicon Valley from 3,435 to 4,792. I remember less three years ago, Silicon Valley jobs listed on dice was some where around 10,000 but people still had a hard time to look for job. However there is some gaining is good rather nothing. I hope those jobs are not go to hand of H-1B workers, otherwise we are all dead ..

Feb 15, 2011 5:07 PM mataj mataj  says:

This can only mean one thing: Living standard in the Rust Belt is approaching Indian living standard.

I doubt these jobs will remain in the Rust Belt & India for long. Indian IT industry started to shout skill shortage last year, which means, that they plan to move jobs to cheaper places, like North Korea, and Africa.

North Korea is quietly becoming a serious offshoring player. Judging from the size of the Rajin-Sonbong Economic Special Zone, DPRK means business. If what I hear about Pyongyang Informatics Centre is correct, it's relatively nice place to work. The atmosphere there is not nearly as dear-leader-loving as the rest of the DPRK. Not to mention NOSOTEK. This


is not the only computer game developed in North Korea.

Feb 17, 2011 9:47 AM Warior Warior  says:

If there is a protest in USA similar to Egypt today I will definitely join.. I am sick and tired of the greed ...


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