IT employment outlook improving as national economy recovers
I've been tracking IT employment and U.S. employment numbers since the recession of 2008-2009 began, and I am finally starting to believe that the long, slow recovery over the past six years is gathering a real head of steam. Not only does this month's Employment Situation Summary from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show job growth of 288,000 for June — a number that's close to the magic 300,000 per month so beloved of labor economists as a sign of full-fledged economic health — but unemployment is down by 0.2 percent to 6.1 percent. That matches a level last seen in September 2008, before the recession really sank its teeth into the U.S. economy.
Not only do these numbers look pretty good, but revisions to the numbers for April and May are also quite positive: April jumped from 282,000 to 304,000 (above the aforementioned "magic number") and May juiced up slightly from 217,000 to 224,000, for a net upward revision of 29,000 more jobs than originally reported. Among the growth areas singled out for special mention in this latest repor,t there are also some IT-related items, including 8,000 new management and technical consulting jobs, 7,000 added architecture and engineering services jobs, and a like number (7,000) of computer design and related services jobs as well. The manufacturing sector even struck a nice chord for IT with the addition of 3,000 jobs in the areas of computers and peripherals.
Table A-14 (Unemployed persons by industry and class of worker) also shows a nice trend for the information sector as well. Unemployment since last year has decreased by 0.4 percent, down from 5.6 percent in June 2013 to 5.2 percent for the same month in 2014. By the numbers, that translates into an unemployment count of 164,000 for June 2013 and 150,000 for June 2014. Overall unemployment in IT is lower than the general number, and continues to show slight but definite improvements month over month.
As I was listening to NPR this morning, the Dow index topped 17,000 at the market open to set a new all-time high. Considering the consistently positive tone of the latest jobs report, out one day early to make way for the Fourth of July holiday tomorrow, that's no big surprise — but still welcome news anyway. Given that jobs created have been reported at over 200,000 for the past 5 months (and over 300,000 for April 2014) it looks like our recovery is finally showing some much-needed signs of strength. Let's hope it lasts, and lets us start making inroads into the unemployed population still trying to escape the clutches of the now-waning recession. Happy Fourth to one and all, too.