Two tech-related sectors bucked the trend of Friday’s labor market report, which showed the overall unemployment rate rising to 8.2 percent.
Computer systems design and related services was up 5.3 percent (2,600 jobs) and management and tech consulting services rose 2.2 percent (3,100 positions). That dovetails with a report Dice published which showed 20,000 consulting positions were added during the first quarter. (Another Dice report noted that, on average, consultants make at least $20,000 more than their full-time counterparts.)
The Labor Department said that the overall professional and business services category grew by 1.4 million since September 2009. Manufacturing of computer and electronic products showed an increase of 1.7 percent in May — 2,700 workers were added – though manufacturing overall grew at a slower pace than in the past few months.
However, there were declines in telecommunications (down 2 percent, or 1,300 jobs) as well as data processing, hosting and related services (down 0.3 percent, or 300 positions). Carriers have been slashing their ranks for years, as they move from land line to wireless services, and greater efficiencies have meant fewer jobs in wireless as well.
Layoffs Still a Damper
The layoff news has been pretty overwhelming lately, with HP, Yahoo, Motorola Mobility and others announcing significant reorganizations. Global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas reported that with the HP layoffs, tech job cuts are at their highest level in three years – and for the month, tech job cuts were five times that of the next-highest industry sector.
Still, there are good trends out there. The Dice analysis of first-quarter data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed unemployment rates for tech pros far below those of the overall work force:
- Network architects – 0.5 percent
- Database administrators – 0.8 percent
- Computer and information systems managers – 2.4 percent
- Computer systems analysts – 2.7 percent
- Programmers – 3.6 percent
- Web developers – 3.6 percent
- Software developers – 4.4 percent
- Network and systems administrators – 5.7 percent
- Computer support specialists – 6.3 percent
And in its May report on tech pay, consultant Foote Partners found broad gains in market value for skills, offsetting the 2.7 percent loss in Web/e-commerce skills:
- Messaging and communication – up 4.1 percent
- Systems/networking –2.6 percent
- Database – 2.5 percent
- Operating systems – 2.5 percent
- Application development – 1.7 percent
- Management/methodology/process – 1.0 percent
- SAP and enterprise business applications – 0.3 percent
Foote Partners routinely notes that the Labor Department categories are woefully out of date because many tech skills are part of other “hybrid” business positions.
But: Forbes suggests that HP might not be done cutting. The magazine likens the tech industry to the automotive industry, in which wages stalled as pay in other parts of the world caught up.