US IT employment falls, hiring may be stalled for months

After months of bucking national employment trends, IT sector lost 34,000 jobs, or 0.87 percent, in November

IT employment in the U.S. dropped in November after months of bucking national employment trends in other industries, said the National Association of Computer Consultant Businesses (NACCB).

U.S. IT employment dropped by nearly 34,000 jobs, or 0.87 percent, in November, according to the NACCB, an Alexandria, Va., trade group that represents IT staffing firms.

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Even with November's losses, IT employment in the United States is up 2.1 percent from November 2007, NACCB said. IT employment also dropped slightly in September and October, NACCB said. However, IT employment in the United States increased by more than 1 percent in three months during the past year.

However, IT recruiting site Dice.com, in a survey released this week, found that most tech-job recruiters and hiring managers are curtailing hiring plans for the next six months. The Dice survey, which received responses from more than 1,000 hiring managers and recruiters, found that 32 percent of respondents said they are substantially scaling back hiring plans during the next six months, and another 40 percent are slightly scaling back hiring plans.

Only 22 percent of the Dice survey respondents said they were not scaling back IT hiring plans. Just less than half said layoffs were likely or very likely at their company or their clients in the next six months. Meanwhile, 70 percent of the hiring managers and recruiters said they were seeing more candidates for jobs since Dice's last survey in June.

Twenty-two percent of respondents said they had no urgency to fill open positions, and another 52 percent said they were using slight caution when filling positions based on the weak economy.

The latest Dice survey was conducted in November.

After the IT employment drop in November, there are just under 3.9 million IT jobs in the United States, NACCB said.

"Given the continued deterioration of broad swaths of the economy, the marked drop in IT employment was not surprising," Mark Roberts, CEO of NACCB, said in a statement. "While IT employment continues to outperform the general employment marketplace on year-over-year basis, that is small consolation for those companies and individuals affected."

The drop affected IT jobs in a wide range of industries, including telecom, manufacturing and financial services, NACCB said. However, the computer systems and design services sector saw an employment gain of less than 0.2 percent for the month, the trade group said.

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