IT job growth continued in May

More than 21,000 IT jobs have been added over the last three months, and the overall IT employment picture for 2014 has improved

The light at the end of the tunnel for the IT job market has brightened -- if only by a little.

With the overall unemployment rate at 6.3 percent and 217,000 jobs added last month, the U.S. economy in general -- and the IT job market in particular -- has bounced back to levels more heartening than seen in quite some time.

Janco Associates' most recent IT job market report shows that 21,900 jobs were added in the IT field from March through May. Based on Janco's crunching of Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) numbers, in May 10,200 IT jobs were added -- slightly fewer than April's increase of 13,400, but still positive.

These numbers were promising enough for the 98 CIOs surveyed by Janco to change their staffing plans for the next calendar year. While some are planning to shed IT staff within the next three months, most of those surveyed said they are now planning to keep their existing levels of IT executives, management, and staff over the next calendar year, and a few are planning to hire. But those new hires are expected to be primarily for IT senior and middle management positions, not entry-level IT staff.

Salaries in IT are often higher than the national average. Janco's survey of salaries among IT workers conducted in January showed an average compensation of $79,289 for all grades of IT professionals. That's in the same ballpark as the $83,342 average base salary for staff- or entry-level positions in IT -- up 1.21 percent over the previous year -- seen in Computerworld's 2014 Salary Survey.

One piece of less-than-stellar news is the overall labor force participation rate, which has remained flat at 62.8 percent since April. That is the lowest level since the 1970s, with Janco's BLS-based figures showing it in a near freefall since 2008.

The declining numbers have for the most part been caused by the chronically unemployed abandoning their job searches altogether, although the number of retiring baby boomers also explains some of the decline, according to The New York Times. Whatever the cause, Janco believes such numbers will make it tougher for hiring and expansion in IT "to continue in a robust fashion."

Even with the overall tough job market, technology -- especially IT -- has remained among the strongest and most appealing areas. Employment rates for IT remain consistently high, and entry-level positions in the field are among the better jobs to be had. Web and mobile development, large-scale data analysis, and Linux expertise all rank as highly in-demand skills.

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Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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