For the second consecutive quarter, the Yoh Index of Technology Wages has shown modest gains as demand for highly skilled temporary workers increased, and wages for these same workers stabilized and ticked slightly upward.
The Yoh Q1 Index (Figure 1) followed Q4 results that showed a clear bottoming out of falling technical wages in information technology, life sciences, engineering, health care, aerospace, and defense.
"First quarter results confirmed our Q4 report that the bottom may have been reached, and wages for this vital component of the American employment market are strengthening, ever so slightly, as industry stabilizes and American employers search for ways to post gains in a recovering economy," says Lori Schultz, President of Yoh.
The Yoh Index, which since 2001 has been benchmarking temporary wages for highly skilled employees, serves as a bellwether of longer-term economic health by assessing demand for technical skills in a knowledge-based economy.
While the Index fell 3 percent from December 2010 to January 2011, it rebounded 1.15 percent and 0.08 percent in February and March 2011, leading to a Q1 average Index performance of 110.4, nearly a 1 percent gain over the Q4 2010 Yoh Index (Figure 2). The January decrease reflected the same results as the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and payroll surveys, which blamed slackened first month demand on poor weather in key markets nationwide. Weather anomalies can have a significant impact upon the on-demand market of hourly-based temporary employment.
"Stabilization, while preferred over reductions in employment demand and wages, does not immediately translate into a vibrant labor market and illustrates ongoing employment weakness in the economy as a whole," explains Schultz. "This is not surprising when you consider that while Q1 overall employment figures were widely reported as an improvement with some 216,000 jobs added to the U.S. economy, at current job creation levels, the country will require, eight years of growth to replace the 8.8 million jobs lost in the recession."
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Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.