The US information technology sector added an estimated 8,500 new jobs in March, according to an analysis by technology industry trade association CompTIA. However, there was a loss of an estimated 19,000 IT positions in companies across all other industry sectors, according to CompTIA’s analysis of employment data released today by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“At this point we simply do not know how the crisis will play out in the labor market,” said Tim Herbert, executive vice president for research and market intelligence at CompTIA, in a statement. “On the one hand, reliance on technology grows by the day and the professionals that support networks, remote work, e-commerce, cybersecurity, and related, are more critical than ever.
On the other, historical precedent reminds us that no category of employment is immune to severe downturns.”
The unemployment rate for IT occupations stood at 2.4% last month. In the past 20 years, there were two periods when unemployment rates spiked for IT occupations, CompTIA said. Most recently during the 2008-2010 financial crisis, IT occupation unemployment reached 6.5%. A similar rate was reached back during the dot.com crash of 2000-2002.
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Four out of five employment categories within the IT sector saw modest job growth in March, CompTIA said. Hiring of IT services, custom software development, and computer systems design professionals accounted for the majority of the gains, with an estimated 3,800 jobs added, the association said.
Other information services, including search engines and portals, increased by 2,700 new workers; data processing, hosting and related services was up 1,900; and computer and electronic products manufacturing grew by 1,800. Telecommunications lost 1,700 jobs, the association said.
Strong demand for remote and work-from home IT workers
CompTIA’s IT Employment Tracker also reveals that during the first quarter of 2020 there were more than 243,053 job postings nationwide for IT positions that specified remote or work from home as a job requirement or option. That represented an increase of 182% from Q1 2019 when there were 86,171 such postings. Because not all employer job postings specify remote or work from home, the figures could be even higher, CompTIA noted.
For the month of March, all IT job postings increased slightly from February, to just under 359,400, CompTIA said.
Software and application developers are the most in-demand professionals sought by companies, with an estimated 114,000 job openings. Other occupations employers are looking to hire include: IT support specialists (30,600), systems engineers and architects (26,100), systems analysts (24,100) and IT project managers (21,300), according to the association.
Job posting data should be viewed as an indicator of where companies are headed with their technology investments rather than a forecast of future hiring because every job posting does not result in a new hire, according to CompTIA.
IT jobs by state, city
California (58,922), Texas (34,087), Virginia (21,643), New York (18,958) and North Carolina (16,518) were the top five states for IT job postings in March, CompTIA said. California, Virginia, Texas, North Carolina and the District of Columbia saw the largest month over month increase in postings.
At the metro level, Washington, D.C., led the nation in both the total number of March IT job postings (25,855) and in the month-over-month increase (+ 3,310), the association said.
New York, Los Angeles, Dallas and San Francisco rounded out the top five markets for total IT job postings; while Los Angeles, San Jose, Dallas and San Diego followed Washington in month-over-month growth, CompTIA said.
Industries with the strongest demand for IT workers include professional, scientific and technical services (64,460 job postings in March); finance and insurance (26,586); manufacturing (22,464); and information (15,747), the association said.