At the midyear point, most aspects of IT employment appear to remain strong, with America’s IT industry adding 70,500 new jobs in the first half of 2015, employing nearly 5 million people at midyear, according to an analysis of labor data released by IT industry association CompTIA.
Most facets of IT employment show robust signs of health, with the largest gains during the first half of 2015 recorded in IT services (up 2.4 percent) and software (up 1.5 percent).
Tech manufacturing grew slightly under 1 percent, mirroring the growth rate for the telecommunications and Internet services sector (0.9 percent).
“If the recent market turmoil is primarily a reaction from jittery investors concerned about China or other external factors, the impact to IT industry jobs may be limited,” Tim Herbert, senior vice president of research and market intelligence for CompTIA, told eWEEK. “However, if the turmoil is a signal of looming weakness in the U.S. economy, the impact could be more significant. To date, most data suggests U.S. economic fundamentals are reasonably solid, which indicates it is more of the former scenario rather than the latter.”
Herbert noted one important caveat: IT jobs directly connected to exports to China will be more vulnerable.
“According to International Trade Administration of the Department of Commerce data, China is the third largest market for U.S. tech manufacturing exports,” he explained. “Any slowdown in the Chinese economy could translate to fewer imports of U.S. tech goods and a corresponding decline in employment.”
In an interconnected world, even relatively small markets, such as Greece, can trigger economic turbulence, Herbert said, noting that there will undoubtedly be some impact to the U.S. economy and the IT industry. Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to predict its magnitude or duration.
Job posting data from Burning Glass Technologies Labor Insights points to intensifying competition for IT talent.
Job postings for IT occupations increased 20 percent during the second quarter 2015 compared with the previous quarter.
Cyber-security jobs, software developers, data scientists, Web developers and network architects showed the largest increases.
The unemployment rate for computer and mathematical positions moved higher in back-to-back months, hitting 3.4 percent in July, which is still much lower than the overall national rate of 5.3 percent.
“The IT services sector and the software sector recorded the highest growth rates year to date, as well as during the past few years,” Herbert said. “These sectors reflect the continuing trends of everything-as-a-service, software-defined-everything, and the proliferation of devices and apps requiring integration, management and support. All signs point to ongoing momentum in IT services and software.”