IT Gives Back Job Gains Between August and July

Looking more closely at monthly numbers released by the Department of Labor, one IT careers analyst firm believes things are headed in the right direction. Even with some up and down movement in technology job numbers, Foote Partners sees a better fourth quarter for IT jobs than the general job data suggests.

IT jobs were up in July by a big number, but are down again in August. What's at play?
There is a constant churn between hiring in specific segments and the economic realities that are forcing some firms to lay off workers-even in IT. In a recent Foote Partners release known as the "August '09 U.S. Department of Labor National Employment Report," the Vero Beach, Fla.-based analyst firm found that IT jobs have been in a state of flux all year, but there have been some gains.
"There has indeed been turbulence in the IT-related jobs reported in the government job situation reports," said David Foote, CEO of Foote Partners, in a release. "In the time our firm has been closely monitoring the five IT bellwether job segments reported in the DOL statistics-we started right after the financial industry meltdown last October-these segments have posted collective job losses of between 3,000 and 11,000 jobs each month, including 4,300 jobs in August. That is, except for January and July, when there were very sudden net job gains of 7,900 and 7,400, respectively. It's been a constant ebb and flow, but the fact is that a total of 36,600 IT-related jobs have been lost since last November according to DOL reports."
Those gains are considered to be positive signs for the remainder of 2009, according to Foote.
"If you consider that according to the Department of Labor, 31,000 IT-related jobs have been lost since January 2009 but only 4,500 since June, and with a net gain of 3,100 IT-related jobs in July and August, it's clear that we're heading in the right direction. I think we can take some satisfaction in this trend and maintain optimism for the rest of the year, especially for the IT services sector."
A recent macro historic look at jobs in California's technology employment corridor of Silicon Valley between 2001 and 2008 shows a darker picture. Between those seven years, that one region has seen a net loss of jobs.
"Between 2001 and 2008, employment in high-tech industries in Silicon Valley (in the southern portion of California's San Francisco Bay Area) declined by about 17 percent, representing a loss of slightly more than 85,000 jobs," said a recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report.
The good news? Three areas of technology saw growth-pharma, aerospace and scientific research-and wages are up 36 percent in that time period.