2 reports offer mixed signals for US technology jobs in September

CompTIA’s tracker shows overall gains but IT-related job losses. BLS shows a second consecutive month of growth.

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A new jobs’ report shows a mix of good and not-so-good news in the IT sector, with employment gains and disappointing news in IT occupation job losses, according to analysis by the nonprofit association for the global technology industry CompTIA, in its IT Employment Tracker for October.

This was confirmed by the monthly data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which noted that recovery from the COVID-19 crisis remains both unpredictable and uncertain. While many businesses are still operating in the new normal, some have fully returned to the office, others are doing some combination of the two. 

An estimated 12,900 new net workers in tech and non-tech jobs were recorded by the sector for its industry for September, the second consecutive month in which there was employment growth. Leading the way in job gains were IT services and custom software development category.

Despite the BLS figures showing the increase in tech job openings, the industry suffered an unexpected loss of 324,000 tech jobs in many sectors across the country, a loss credited to the coronavirus. The IT tech sector is the largest employer of IT occupation, at 44%, and the remaining 56% of jobs in the IT sector are tech jobs in departments such as sales, marketing, finance, HR, R&D, and more.

SEE: COVID-19 workplace policy (TechRepublic Premium)

The unemployment rate for tech-related jobs stands at 3.5%.

IT-related job occupations are slightly down, falling by 11,372 postings, but still totaled more than 200,000. 

The most in-demand IT occupations included: 

  • Software and application developers (65,400 job postings)
  • IT support specialists (19,700)
  • Systems engineers and architects (17,200)
  • Systems analysts (13,500) and
  • IT project managers (12,800).

Top five states most month-over-month gains in IT job postings

  1. Massachusetts
  2. Indiana
  3. Georgia
  4. Iowa and 
  5. Arkansas

“The latest jobs report confirms progress on some fronts, but also serves as a reality check,” said Tim Herbert, executive vice president for research and market intelligence at CompTIA. “As the crisis continues to ripple through the economy, businesses must balance shorter-term concerns with longer-term strategic tech spending and tech talent needs.” 

Emerging tech’s impact 

Posts with an emerging tech occupation or skills component represent 25% of all IT job openings; it was 22% for the same period last year.

Specific industries with the most IT job postings:

  • professional, scientific and technical services (39,014),
  • finance and insurance (19,363),
  • manufacturing (14,851) and 
  • information (11,616) 

Top state/metro area for IT job postings count in September

  • Top state: California (33,058)
  • Top metro area: Washington (16,321)

Top state/metro area for IT job postings change in September

  • Top state: Massachusetts (6,957)
  • Top metro area: Washington (16,321)

Top state for remote/WFH for IT job postings in September: California (7,284)

Top IT position for remote/WFH for IT job postings in September

Software developers, applications (14,888)

Top three industries for IT job postings count in September

  1. Professional, scientific, and technical services (39,014)
  2. Finance and insurance (19,363)
  3. Manufacturing (14,851)

Top five employers for IT job postings count in September

  1. Anthem Blue Cross (2,466)
  2. Amazon (2,051)
  3. Deloitte (2,019)
  4. Humana (1,810)
  5. IBM (1,674)

National overview

In September, 661,000 overall jobs were added, fewer than in recent months.

The national unemployment rate inched lower to 7.9%. 

Hiring activity is accessed through employer job postings, and that key measure also experienced a down month. 

The total job postings nationally fell by more than 260,000 jobs, which translates into less recruiter or employer hiring, and the data also confirms the shift to remote work. 

Year-to-date job postings for IT occupations that specify remote work increased 58% versus the same period in 2019.

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