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IT Job Market Plummets: Nearly 30,000 Jobs Lost in May

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Edward GatelyU.S. IT sector employment plummeted in May with 28,800 jobs lost, reversing the jobs gains the sector realized through the first four months of 2016, according to CompTIA.

Both CompTIA and Janco Associates Friday released dismal IT job market reports for last month. According to Janco, the moving average for new IT jobs created continues to fall and now has a negative growth rate of 0.51 percent, which is a five-year low.

“There is an acceleration in the rate of slowdown in the IT job market,” said Victor Janulaitis, Janco’s CEO. “If this continues, as we think it will, there is a probability that there could potentially be a net decrease in the size of the IT job market in 2016. We have already lowered our best-case forecast for net new IT jobs for the balance of this year and have reduced our prior forecast of 87,700 to 40,300. Many companies are cutting back significantly on contractors and consultants. That trend will continue until at least the third quarter of this year.”

CompTIA's Tim HerbertAccording to CompTIA, telecommunications accounted for the biggest drop in May, shedding 37,200 positions. Much of that total, about 35,000, were industry workers who were on strike and not on company payrolls during the month. The Verizon wireline workers strike, which ended this week, was cited as a major contributor to last month’s negative IT employment picture.

The bright spot in May was the IT services category, which added 7,400 jobs, CompTIA said. From May 2015 to May 2016, employment in IT services has increased by 86,700 jobs.

Also, small gains were reported last month in other information services, including search portals, which grew by 1,700 jobs, and data processing, hosting and related services, which added 100 jobs.{ad}

Computer and electronic products manufacturing lost 800 jobs last month.

“Much like the rest of the May jobs report, it was a down month for both IT sector and IT occupation employment,” said Tim Herbert, CompTIA’s senior vice president of research and market intelligence. “While there continues to be strong demand for IT professionals – their unemployment rate remains about half of the national average – the data indicates some employers are holding off on adding additional headcount or reassessing their IT skills needs.”

A preliminary hiring forecast shows that long-term hiring for both IT staff and contractors/consultants is flat, according to Janco.

“On the plus side, CIOs report that CFOs are not completely …

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… averse (to) incremental spending for IT related activities that have operational support and have a good return on investment,” Janulaitis said. “We have found no IT initiatives that are being approved to upgrade technology for the sake of IT’s desire to have the latest new thing.”

The IT workforce includes two components: employment within the IT sector and IT occupations across all other industries, as measured by CompTIA. The IT sector is the largest employer of IT occupation workers. IT occupation employment also declined in May by 96,000 jobs and stood at an estimated 4,452,000 at the end of the month.

The number of IT occupation job postings in May totaled 115,000, down 21,100 from April.

Employers posted 58,700 job openings for software and application developer positions last month, more than half of the total. Other categories included computer systems engineers and architects (15,500), computer systems analysts (13,900), IT project managers (13,700) and computer user support specialists (13,200).


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