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Tech Unemployment Reaches 20-Year Low, Worker Shortages Likely

Skills shortage

The unemployment rate for technology jobs across the United States dropped to a 20-year low of 1.3 percent in May as hiring gains were recorded in both the tech sector and across the economy.

That’s according to CompTIA’s analysis of Friday’s U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics “Employment Situation” report. Tech unemployment is at its lowest rate since January 2000, the earliest available data from the BLS.

The previous low of 1.4 percent occurred in March 2018 and April 2007.

CompTIA's Tim Herbert

CompTIA’s Tim Herbert

“The data confirms what employers have been saying for months and even years — the demand for tech talent has reached historic levels,” said Tim Herbert, CompTIA‘s executive vice president for research and market intelligence. “There is now the very real prospect of tech worker shortages affecting industry growth. Firms seeking to expand into new areas such as the Internet of things, robotic-process automation or artificial intelligence may be inhibited by a lack of workers with these advanced skills, not to mention shortages in the complementary areas of technology infrastructure and cybersecurity.”

An estimated 5,800 new hires were added to the tech sector workforce in May, a modest increase compared to recent months. IT occupations across the entire U.S. economy increased by about 133,000 jobs, reversing some of the declines of the past two months.

Within the tech sector, technology services, custom software development and computer systems design expanded by an estimated 8,400 new hires.

Gains in other employment categories were more modest. Computer and electronic products manufacturing added 1,600 new jobs, including 1,200 in computer and peripheral equipment manufacturing. Hiring in data processing, hosting and related services was unchanged.

Tech sector employment fell off in two other categories. Other information services, including search portals, shed an estimated 2,600 positions, while telecommunications employment declined by some 1,700 jobs.

Overall, the U.S. economy added 75,000 jobs in May. It marked the 104th straight month of gains, but was well below economists’ forecasts for the month.

Software and application developer continues to be the most in-demand occupation, with 89,900 job postings last month. Other tech jobs companies were looking to fill included computer user support specialists (25,000), computer systems engineers and architects (22,100), computer systems analysts (20,100) and IT project managers (17,600).


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