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Even though the overall economy is still shedding jobs instead of adding
them, IT job creation seems to have turned a corner.

U.S. employment numbers released last week by the U.S. Department of Labor
showed a third straight month of improvement in IT-related employment.
Categories that grew included those in professional and technical services
businesses that encompassed management and technical consulting, up 5,600 in November.
Also up in November by 1,000 jobs was computer system design and related

IT employment industry analyst firm Foote Partners notes that among five IT
bellwether job segments reported in the Labor Department report, 7,300 jobs
were lost in September, October and November, but those same segments added
18,500 jobs for a net gain of 11,200 jobs.

Foote Partners points out that for the first eight months of 2009 the same five
IT job segments experienced a net loss of nearly 31,000 jobs.

“This is a good news, bad news employment report for IT,” says David Foote, CEO
and chief research officer at Foote Partners, in a statement. “The IT services
industry can look forward to increasing demand for their services and will see
hiring of technical and management specialists picking up further in the first
quarter of 2010. Despite some good momentum starting to build, companies in
other IT segments are still feeling pain.”

But while the worst may be over for many, big gains aren’t on the way immediately.
And IT professionals looking to solidify their position may very well want to
identify the hot skill sets and build up those areas.

"What this means is that despite the recent GDP
upturn and recovering stock prices as we enter our nation’s third straight year
of economic instability, the length of the tail on the traditional staffing lag
will be much longer than in previous recoveries,” Foote says.

“Hiring will not pick up noticeably for the IT industry as a whole until late
next year, and more likely 2011,” he adds. “Volatility will continue to
punctuate staffing and pay levels, and will be focused on specific skill
specializations as employers struggle to recalibrate their IT workforces by
striking the right balance between costs, agility and intense competitive
market pressures—which is a moving target, of course.”