IT jobs pick up in September, after a slow summer

The IT job market added 13,200 positions in September, near the monthly high set in April

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Credit: Duisenberg School of Finance via Wikimedia Commons

After a relatively slack summer, IT job growth improved in September, with 13,200 new jobs added across the IT sector.

According to Janco Associates' monthly number-crunching of BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) data, the IT job market has added 69,000 jobs since the beginning of the year, with a per-month high of 13,800 (April).

July and August's numbers appear to have been underreported in earlier BLS reports, according to Janco, with the new July and August figures somewhat less anemic than before. The new tally puts July and August's job gains at 9,500 and 4,800, rather than the previous figures of 4,600 and 3,400 respectively.

The expansion in IT jobs corresponds with the overall pickup in hiring nationwide; around 248,000 jobs of all descriptions were added across the board, and the national unemployment rate dropped to 5.9 percent. Unemployment has been dropping steadily, if slowly, since mid-2009.

But the good news hasn't done much to elevate the overall labor force participation rate, which still remains at a 30-year low -- 62.7 percent at last tally. The employment-to-population ratio also remains virtually flat, meaning many of those who previously left the labor force aren't returning.

That said, those in the tech sector are less likely to remain unemployed. Tech specialists are on average twice as likely to find work as those in other occupations, with more of them finding dependable gigs as consultants and holding out for better pay when possible.

Dice.com recently parsed its own job listings to determine which tech skills were growing fastest in demand. At the top of the list was the Puppet automation framework, with 91 percent growth year-over-year since last year. NoSQL (49 percent), Hadoop (38 percent), and Python (21 percent) were in the running as well. Salesforce -- the only proprietary cloud service in the list -- posted an impressive 43 percent gain since the previous year.

The pay for many of the jobs matches the demand. Salesforce architects often start at $180,000, with NoSQL and Hadoop skills (data architect or big data engineer) going for $110,000 to $150,000.

However, IT workers are not immune from wage woes, especially those closer to the bottom of the IT ladder. IT salaries in general have improved little over the past year, and in all fields, wages have remained generally stagnant, showing only a 2 percent rise over the last 12 months.

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