Positive trend continues for US tech sector employment in January

Labor Bureau's #JobsReport shows tech firms added 19,500 new positions, and IT occupations expanded by 78,000 in areas including IT services, software development, and telecommunications.

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Image: iStockphoto/Chalirmpoj Pimpisarn

Hiring in the US technology sector continued on an upward trajectory in January, with employers adding 19,500 jobs, according to an analysis by CompTIA, the nonprofit association for the information technology (IT) workforce. Four of the five tech sector employment categories recorded job gains, based on the Employment Situation report released by the US Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (#JobsReport). It marks the sector's best January hiring month since 2017, the association said.

IT occupations in all sectors of the economy grew by more than 78,000 positions.

"The latest tech job figures signal a continuation of hiring momentum with contributions in both expected and unexpected employment categories," said Tim Herbert, executive vice president for research and market intelligence at CompTIA, in a statement. "On the occupation side, the data confirms the multi-faceted nature of employer tech talent needs with demand spanning software, artificial intelligence, infrastructure, IT support, security, and more."

January's tech sector employment gains were led by the addition of 11,300 positions in IT services and custom software development, an important indicator of small and medium-size business activity, CompTIA said.

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Telecommunications recorded a surprisingly strong performance with 6,000 new positions, the strongest month for telecom hiring since November 2017, CompTIA observed.

Also in positive territory were other information services, including search engines, up 2,500 positions, and computer and electronic products manufacturing, which added 1,300 workers. Employment in data processing, hosting, and related services slipped by 1,600 jobs.

The national unemployment rate for IT occupations was 2.4% in January, down from 3% in December 2020. Tech sector employment--a combination of technical and non-technical positions within US technology companies--totaled nearly 4.7 million workers in January.

Tech job postings up for second straight month

Employer job postings for core IT positions exceeded 232,000 nationwide in January, an increase of about 26,000 over the previous month.

Positions for software and application developers accounted for the largest share of the job openings (67,200). Employers also advertised openings for IT support specialists (21,000), systems engineers and architects (18,200), IT project managers (16,000), and systems analysts (15,200).

Job postings for positions in emerging technologies or those requiring emerging tech skills also saw a jump--from 57,500 in December to nearly 65,900 in January. Positions in artificial intelligence (9,715) accounted for nearly 15% of the total.

Among the top metropolitan areas for tech job postings in the country were Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, and San Jose, which recorded the highest month-over-month gains in IT job postings, CompTIA said.

California, Florida, Ohio, Georgia, and New York had the strongest performance among the states.

Industries with the most January job postings for IT talent include professional, scientific and technical services (43,070), finance and insurance (20,353), manufacturing (18,341), and information (13,852).

The top 10 states for remote/work from home tech job postings were California, Texas, Florida, New York, Georgia, North Carolina, Illinois, Virginia, Colorado, and Pennsylvania.

The top 10 US employers for tech jobs postings were Deloitte, Anthem Blue Cross, Amazon, IBM, Accenture, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, Travelers, Ernst & Young, and Microsoft.

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By Esther Shein

Esther Shein is a longtime freelance writer and editor whose work has appeared in several online and print publications. Previously, she was the editor-in-chief of Datamation, a managing editor at BYTE, and a senior writer at eWeek (formerly PC Week)...