Pro-Industry Group Finds Positive Where There Is Very Little

By Donald Sears  |  Posted 2010-07-16 Print this article Print

The one thing you can guarantee from pro-industry organizations is the tenacity to find a positive angle. The truth is technology jobs in 2010 are fluctuating up and down so rapidly it's difficult to put much legitimate spin on them.

A number of technology research analysts I've recently interviewed do not share in the upbeat vibes of jobs in IT because the numbers do not bare it out--as technology hiring is changing up and down all the time.

TechServe Alliance is not about to tell you that technology jobs are doing poorly. The industry advocates at TechServe are, understandably, trying to give you the best picture in an otherwise murky and stagnant job growth period. But I'd be careful of reading too much in to the picture they are promoting. It sounds good, but it's not real growth. It's miniscule and there are some downward trends they choose not to talk about.

Here is what they say in a July 16 statement:

In June, the number of IT jobs grew 3,600 to 3,864,700 after increasing 9,200 in May. Where the number of IT jobs in June 2010 was almost 0.7% higher than in June 2009, the overall private-sector job growth was still in negative territory---down 0.4% from the previous year...

"We are encouraged that the IT sector continues to outperform the overall job market," said Mark Roberts, CEO of TechServe Alliance. "While growth in the IT sector moderated in June, it remains up on a year-over-year basis."

"While macroeconomic trends always have the potential to derail the growth trajectory of IT employment, we remain heartened by the 6 consecutive months of growth to-date," observed Roberts.

The problem is, some of the other numbers they give are not that rosy. Less than one percent month to month growth is tough to call a good sign. A .02 percent decline in computer systems and design jobs? Negative .61 percent monthly decline in ISP, search portal and data processing jobs? A monthly decline of .25 percent in telecommunication gigs? Sure, the .67 percent positive year-over-year growth in all these categories is a positive number, but it's still less than 1 percent.

I'm having a very difficult time jumping on this bandwagon after reading statements like the following from David Foote, chief research officer of an IT analyst firm Foote Partners in a statement on the June government data numbers on technology jobs.

[W]e're still seeing this same see-sawing in our own broader jobs research, and also in the market for IT skills. With so much economic pessimism out there it is certain that this volatility will persist, thwarting any positive momentum that might show up from time to time. |

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