The bottom hasn't fallen out of the IT job market, but the roof has hardly risen either.
While the overall economy added a heartening 223,000 jobs in April, the IT job market was flat over the last three months, especially when compared to April of last year.
Janco Associates' monthly tally of IT jobs showed only 8,200 to 8,400 jobs were added from February through April. The company's poll of 98 CIOs indicated "new hires are in the works for most organizations, but they are for replacements. Few if any new IT initiatives have started in the last 30 to 60 days."
The three-month average for job growth in the IT market, as calculated by Janco, was positive -- but marginally so at 0.625 percent. The last three months have dragged down the average, although the peaks at the end of 2014 and beginning of 2015 partly made up for it.
Wages for tech jobs, too, have taken a slight hit. PayScale, which tracks salaries across industries, reported that wages in STEM fields, including IT, were down slightly in the first quarter of 2015.
But the decline may not persist over the course of the year, as tech salaries on whole remain on the upswing. Exact raises vary, depending on the field, but the more specialized the better -- for example, big data engineers and mobile developers are respectively enjoying about 9 and 10 percent better pay this year than last, while QA engineers got a raise of about 4 percent.
IT jobs remain strong as an overall labor category. They're still tops in terms of wages, where they outpace the rest of the economy by 3 percent. Plus, software developers can reap big bonuses if they play their cards right. (Hint: Learn Java.) Positions with highly specialized needs, like big data, Linux, or security, are proving difficult to fill, and those skills are likely to remain in demand and command good pay.
The most visible symptom of long-term trouble in the workforce remains the labor participation rate, which remains at a 30-year low -- although it hasn't slumped further of late. Last year the participation rate never dipped below 62.5 percent, and in April it even showed a (very slight) uptick. But any long-term solutions to the crash in overall labor participation will require boosts in more than the IT job market.