Employers Tread Lightly on New IT Jobs, Hiring

By Jessica Davis  |  Print this article Print

While the most recent U.S. Department of Labor's numbers showed an increase in jobs created, and net new IT jobs also increased, the labor market still shows signs of volatility. That's because employers will likely buy services rather than hire right away, according to IT labor analyst firm Foote Partners.

Employers are treading lightly when it comes to adding new IT jobs, a trend that will likely mean more volatility—with job numbers rising and falling—in the months ahead.

That’s according to David Foote, CEO and chief research officer at IT labor market analyst firm Foote Partners. Foote made the assessment based on the numbers released last week by the U.S. Department of Labor that showed the U.S. economy gained 162,000 jobs in March as the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 9.7 percent.

Looking more closely at the numbers, Foote said there was a net increase of 22,300 jobs in IT-related job segments over the past six months.

"My sense—and I say this not just from looking at federal job data but from our own research views and executive interviewing involving 2,000 employers who are our research partner—is that we’re in a 'three steps forward, one step back’ pattern," Foote said in a statement.

"It’s clear that the bleeding stopped in October and many employers are once again acquiring needed skills and making selective IT hires. They are doing so very deliberately, and purchasing services where they once might have added full time staff," Foote added.

"This volatility, with employment numbers rising and falling month to month by segment but gaining overall, will continue at least through the end of the year and probably into the next," he said.

U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis said Friday that the numbers showed continued growth in the temporary help services sector, and that the manufacturing sector has also seen modest job growth over the last three months.

Solis pointed out the tax breaks offered to businesses that hire new workers through the recently passed HIRE (Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment) act.

Jessica Davis covers the channel for eWeek and Channel Insider. Her technology journalism career began well before anyone heard of the World Wide Web and has included stints at Infoworld, Electronic News/EDN, and the Philadelphia Business Journal. Her work has also appeared on CNN and Forbes.com. She has covered hardware, software and networking, as well as the business side of technology. She has won several journalism awards, including a national ASBPE award for best staff-written column, and was named Marketing Computers hardest working tech journalist on their inaugural list of top tech journalists. Jessica can be reached at jessica.davis@ziffdavisenterprise.com