Rate of Tech Job Growth in California to Outpace All Industries: Report

Change in California's employment rate is hard to find, but one study found a bright spot for technology-related jobs over the next two years. But will it be enough?

With an unemployment rate over 12 percent, the Golden State's economy is more rust than shine in 2010. Overall, California lost 1.3 million jobs during the recession, with layoffs in many industries still expected.

Jobs in technology over the last two years have been hit hard across the board, but especially in manufacturing and the semiconductor industry. Despite a rough few years, new data suggests California technology jobs are going to see some recovery, albeit on the small side of the equation.

The majority of industries in California are expected to grow 3.8 percent over the next two years, Yet, jobs in information, communications and technology (ICT) are going to grow 7 percent over that time period-about 46,000 new or replacement jobs-according to an August study of California's job situation by BW Research and California Community Colleges Economic and Workforce Development Centers of Excellence and the Mid-Pacific ICT Center.

"The study provides a real bright spot in California's labor market, which is largely pretty dismal," Josh Williams, principal researcher at BW Research Partnership, who compiled the data for the state study, said in an interview with eWEEK. "I think we are seeing structural changes in our economy and the demand for ICT skills in given industries converging with other more traditional industries."

The study, which surveyed 600 private employers in the state, looked closely at ICT job categories across all industries and discovered 4 percent of all companies in the state are ICT companies, take in 6 percent of all state revenues, employ nearly 1 million workers and account for 12 percent of state revenues.

Where will information, communications and technology jobs be found in the state? Companies that provide ICT goods and services are expected to grow 8.5 percent over the next two years, according to the same study, as capital budgets loosen up and more technology equipment and services to manage hardware and software will be purchased.

"Health care, automotive technology and energy all provide opportunities for job seekers
who are looking to develop skills that will be employable in the near future," said Williams.

Economists at UCLA do not expect much movement in the state's economy and job rate until mid-2011.

"All the evidence suggests that California is ever so slowly coming out of the recession," wrote Jerry Nickelsburg, senior economist with UCLA's Anderson School of Business, in a Sept. 15 forecast statement. "But, slow growth means that while the groundwork for faster growth is being put down, there is not a lot of perceptible change."