Channel Insider content and product recommendations are editorially independent. We may make money when you click on links to our partners. Learn More.

IT services firms are hiring. That’s the latest from the U.S. Department of Labor jobs report released today, which provided some encouraging news for folks in the channel.

For the fourth straight month, the DOL recorded gains in IT services jobs. IT employment in general has also experienced growth over the last three consecutive months.

But it’s the services spike that should brighten the channel’s spirits. Of the 7,600 new jobs created last month in the IT market, 6,900 of them were in management and technical consulting services and computer systems design and related services, according to  IT industry analyst firm Foote Partners, which broke down the report.

Judging by that data it’s clear that while companies in general continue to limit their hiring internally – that fact is borne out in the broader DOL report – they are turning to outside contractors, solution providers and MSPs for their technology needs.

“We can expect to see hiring of technical and management specialists by services firms picking up further in the first quarter of 2010 as demand continues to expand,” said David Foote, CEO and chief research officer at Foote Partners, in assessing the jobs report.

Uptick around managed services and consulting can be felt across the channel, with many solution providers predicting a turnaround year. Kevin McDonald, executive vice president at Alvaka Networks, an MSP in Irvine, Calif., says 2010 looks bright – especially for solution providers that emphasize services and consulting exclusively. That’s where the jobs are flowing.

“We sell some product if the client really wants us to, but in general, we are all about delivering top notch consulting and support services,” McDonald said. “If a firm is making significant amounts of their gross profits on software and hardware margins, my advice would be to consider a career change."