U.S. technology employment in August continued its up-and-down trend that has characterized much of 2020, according to an analysis by CompTIA, the nonprofit association for the global technology industry and workforce.
Reversing a stretch of several down months, technology companies returned to hiring by adding an estimated 9,200 net new workers, according to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Employment Situation report.
Conversely, after a strong start to the year, information technology (IT) occupations with employers across all sectors of the economy experienced a second consecutive month of losses with a net decline of 323,000 positions. On the year, IT occupations had positive gains in five months, offset by losses in three months, resulting in a net positive of 271,000 new jobs through August.
“On the tech industry employment side, it’s encouraging to see the pick-up in hiring among IT services and software firms, especially given the large number of small and medium-size businesses in that sector,” said Tim Herbert, executive vice president for research and market intelligence at CompTIA.
“On the tech occupation employment side, the data does run counter to expectations, so we have to be careful not to read too much into any single month,” Herbert continued. “The macro trend, however, remains unchanged with a continuation of the positive tech employment trajectory.”
Within the technology sector in August two employment categories added jobs, recorded job gains, two experienced losses and a fifth was unchanged. The employment totals reflect a combination of both technical and non-technical positions in technology businesses.
The categories of IT services and custom software development (+12,800) and computer and electronic products manufacturing (+2,300) saw employment growth. Those numbers were offset somewhat by job reductions in data processing hosting and related services (-3,200) and telecommunications (-2,700). Employment in other information services, including search engines and portals was unchanged.
The unemployment rate for IT occupations inched up in August to 4.6%. By historic comparison, IT occupation unemployment peaked at about 6.5% during the Great Recession (2007-2009) and the dotcom bust (2000-2002).
U.S. employer job postings for IT occupations totaled nearly 228,000 in August, a slight decline from July. Software and application developers (67,200 job postings), IT support specialists (22,100), systems engineers and architects (17,300), systems analysts (15,300) and IT project managers (13,900) led the list of positions companies were looking to fill.
Among specific industry sectors, professional, scientific and technical services (41,084), finance and insurance (19,656), manufacturing (15,855), and information (12,173) had the highest numbers of August job postings for IT positions.
Florida, Colorado, New Jersey, Illinois and Alabama recorded the highest month-over-month increase in IT job postings among states. At the metro level, Chicago, Houston, Atlanta, Orlando and Miami has the highest month-over-month growth, though the gains were modest.