IT jobs take a summer swan dive

Uptick in IT jobs couldn't keep pace in July and August, when numbers slumped considerably

So much for the light at the end of the IT jobs tunnel. According to job data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as analyzed by Janco Associates, the IT professional job market has all but lost the head of steam it built up earlier this year.

A mere 3,400 IT jobs were added in August, down from 4,600 added for July and way down from the 13,800 added in April of this year. Overall, IT hiring in 2014 got off to a weak start, then surged, only to stumble again.

The job participation rate also remains flat, having bottomed out at its April low of 62.8 percent. Despite a slight perk above 63 percent earlier this year, those numbers continue to be the worst in three decades. The one positive: The jobs numbers still registered gains; the last actual losses were recorded in February of this year, for a loss of only 300 or so jobs -- a statistical blip.

Janco's surveys of CIO hiring plans show most of the job offers will go toward staff or middle/senior management -- and only over the course of the coming 12 months, not immediately. Short-term plans either remain unchanged or will involve shedding jobs for the sake of cost control.

Despite a strong summer for the economy generally, hiring in August dipped across the board, with only 142,000 jobs added overall for the month. Tech jobs have demonstrated consistent resilience in the face of general downturns -- so much so that tech job applicants can now afford to hold out for better pay -- but that only goes so far, it seems.

While unemployment overall fell slightly, to 6.1 percent, that was more a reflection of people dropping out of the workforce than people landing work, as the New York Times pointed out. (Official unemployment stats may be further skewed by low response rates to BLS polling.)

The surge of tech jobs earlier this year prompted Dice.com to take a look back in August at which were the fastest-growing states for technology jobs. Texas came in first, with a growth rate for new IT jobs of just under 6 percent. Florida and North Carolina trailed with 5.64 percent and 3.8 percent, respectively. New York, which has been pitching itself of late as a hot spot for tech startups, landed the No. 6 slot with a 3.08 percent growth rate.

California didn't make Dice's top 10, although San Francisco figured as one of the top-paying locales for a tech job, according to InfoWorld's own analysis. Dallas/Plano/Irving has not only added many good-playing tech jobs, it also turns out to be one of the areas where one's salary goes the furthest.

This story, "IT jobs take a summer swan dive," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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