Slumping Market Shakes IT Confidence

 
 
By Deb Perelman  |  Posted 2007-08-03
 
 
 

The job market lost some luster last month as employers added only 92,000 jobs, the fewest in five months, the Labor Department reported Aug. 3.

Employment growth fell off significantly from June, when 126,000 jobs were added to the U.S. economy, and lagged notable behind the 135,000 job growth forecasted by economists. Even the unemployment rate edged up in July, from 4.5 percent to 4.6 percent.

Blame was placed on the housing market's continued state of decline, uncertainty over the ongoing tightening of credit markets and a general lack of confidence in the economy. The housing decline isn't expected to let up in the second half of the year, which will likely extend into the winter months.

28,000 government jobs were lost in July, along with 12,000 construction jobs, both residential and commercial, and retailers cut another 1,200. Yet other areas added jobs, including 20,000 in banking and insurance, 44,000 in healthcare and social assistance and 22,0000 in restaurants and bars.

In the face of a weakening economic outlook, IT employee confidence slipped ever-so-slightly in the second quarter of 2007, according to a quarterly measure developed by Spherion Atlantic Enterprises, an employment firm based in Fort Lauderdale.

Fewer IT professionals reported believing in the strength of the economy or in their ability to find a job during the same period, declining two percent and one percent, respectively, from the first quarter of 2007.

However, other indices of IT employees painted a different picture. Confidence among IT professionals jumped in July, according to the Hudson Employment Index, released by New York's Hudson Highland Group, a recruitment firm.

There was a substantial jump in workers who rated their finances as "excellent" or "good" in July (62 percent) compared to in June (52 percent), according to the Index. And although fewer workers anticipated their company will be hiring in the coming months (32 percent in July, compared to 34 percent in June), fewer workers also thought their company will be reducing headcount (16 percent in July, compared to 18 percent in June).

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