Report: IT employment 'treading water' in the US

The IT sector lost 200 jobs in May, according to a CompTIA report. However, the field's overall job outlook remains strong.

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Employment in the US IT sector fell by 200 jobs in May—the first time the field has lost jobs in many months, according to data from CompTIA, released Friday.

In terms of breakdown, computer and electronics manufacturing dropped 1,700 jobs last month, and telecommunications shed 1,100 positions, according to CompTIA's employment tracker. IT and software services, and computer system design, also lost 200 jobs in May.

However, positions were added in other IT areas, including service portals (with 1,800 new jobs added) and data processing, hosting, and related services (with 1,000 new positions created), leading to the net loss of 200 jobs across the IT sector.

Job postings also reflected the drop in positions, with posts for core IT jobs down an estimated 2,500 in May from April. Despite overall drops, software and application development jobs continued to be the most in-demand positions employers were looking to fill, followed by computer systems engineers/architects, computer systems analysts, and web developers.

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Image: iStockphoto/peshkov

Overall, the IT sector is expected to continue to grow this year, with an estimated 39,500 new jobs bringing the total to 4.4 million workers in the industry. Even with May's job losses, 83% of industry executives surveyed last month said that their companies are on target or ahead of revenue goals for the year, according to CompTIA.

"Demand for software solutions and technology services remains robust across many sectors of the economy," said Tim Herbert, CompTIA's senior vice president for research and market intelligence, in a press release. "Businesses engaged in digital transformation are investing in these areas for a variety of reasons: to enhance productivity, enter new markets, expand e-commerce engagement, or automate routine processes."

IT occupations in all other industries dropped by 107,000 jobs in May—the largest drop since September 2016. Interestingly enough, in April, just a month before, some 90,000 jobs were added to the IT workforce—demonstrating how volatile month-to-month hiring can be, according to CompTIA.

US employment in the tech field grew by about 3% in 2016, according to another CompTIA report. The tech sector represents about 8% of total activity in the US economy—more than $1.3 trillion, CompTIA found.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

1. The US tech sector lost 200 jobs in May, the first drop that the field has seen in several months, according to a new report from CompTIA.

2. Despite the losses, the tech sector is estimated to add 39,500 new jobs this year, leading to a total of 4.4 million workers in the industry.

3. Software and application development jobs continued to be the most in-demand positions in the industry, followed by computer systems engineers/architects, computer systems analysts, and web developers, CompTIA found.

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By Alison DeNisco Rayome

Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.