Tech Sector Employment Loses Momentum in August

Data Center Workers

IT pros looking for work might face unexpected challenges as U.S. IT sector job growth stalled last month after posting big gains in July.

Employment for the month declined by an estimated 400 positions, according to CompTIA’s review of the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics “Employment Situation” report. The tech sector added some 14,500 new jobs in July.

Numerous companies in the channel have confirmed layoffs in the past several months.

Tech manufacturing’s run of 14 consecutive months of job gains came to end,” said Tim Herbert, CompTIA’s senior vice president for research and market intelligence. “While it is difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of a downturn in any given month, the escalating disruption to international trade is certainly weighing on the minds of industry executives.”

CompTIA's Tim Herbert

CompTIA’s Tim Herbert

The addition of 3,900 positions in IT services, custom software development and computer system design wasn’t enough to overcome declines in telecommunications, down 4,000, and computer, electronics and semiconductor manufacturing, down 1,800.

Modest employment gains were recorded in other information services, including search portals, up 800, and data processing, hosting and related services, up 700.

On a positive note, employers across the economy added 80,000 core technology positions last month, after expanding their tech hiring by 75,000 jobs in July.

Even with August’s setback, industry fundamentals remain strong. According to CompTIA’s IT Industry Business Confidence Index for third-quarter 2018, 82 percent of technology companies surveyed said their margins and net profitability improved or held steady during the first half of the year.

Also, about half of the firms reported that customer demand for tech products and services increased during the first six month of 2018. That was true for both core technology product and services, and emerging technologies.

Through the first eight months of 2018, tech-sector employment has expanded by an estimated 58,300 positions. Four of five categories have recorded job gains: IT services, custom software development and computer system design (50,300); computer, electronics, and semiconductor manufacturing (10,800); other information services, including search portals (9,000); and data processing, hosting and related services (8,800). The telecommunications category is down 20,600 jobs for the year.

The number of employer job postings in August for core technology positions dropped by 39,000 in August, but still totaled more than 261,000.

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