Last week's jobs report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed better-than-expected results, including a sizable drop in the national unemployment rate to 7.8% from 8.1%. But for the IT industry, September was a big disappointment. After sustained growth -- including 36,300 jobs added in July and August alone -- the IT industry lost 1,700 jobs in September.
September marks the first the monthly decline since August 2010 that wasn't associated with a labor strike or other market anomaly, notes IT analyst firm Foote Partners, which focuses on tech employment research.
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Foote Partners analyzed the numbers:
- In the Management and Technical Consulting Services category, 1,800 jobs were lost following 17 consecutive months of job growth during which a total of 95,400 jobs were added.
- One bright spot: the Computer Systems Design/Related Services segment. This category gained 2,900 jobs in September, marking the 24th consecutive month of job growth.
- Telecommunications posted a loss of 400 jobs in September, and the Data Processing/Hosting/Related Services segment lost a total of 2,400 jobs -- the largest single monthly decline since June 2009, Foote Partners noted. Between January and August, these two segments combined lost 15,000 jobs.
"Overall national employment numbers were disappointing [in] July and August, but for IT they were spectacular, the greatest monthly gains in five years," Foote stated in his monthly analysis of the DOL's employment report. "At the jobs level I wouldn't be surprised if this turned back around soon because the truth is that many of the IT job segments in the government jobs reports, in particular those in IT services, have been on strong and sustained growth runs for nearly two years. Companies are actively searching for talent and hiring for the future, though with considerable selectivity."
Companies are looking for versatile individuals with multi-dimensional skills that aren't always easy to find, Foote noted.