August jobs report shows slight drop in data-related positions nationwide

While hiring in the U.S. technology sector and among tech occupations generally stood out in an otherwise lackluster August jobs report, job losses were reported in the data processing sector for the first time in months.

Data-related jobs have been a strong point among tech hiring in 2019, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics and according to an analysis by CompTIA, the leading technology industry association. But the August hiring forecast from the BLS reveals the loss of some 900 jobs in data processing, hosting and related services.

CompTIA’s examination of the newest “Employment Situation” BLS report finds that the tech sector added an estimated 11,400 new jobs in August. Across the entire U.S. economy last month, tech occupations expanded by an estimated 104,000 positions. This, in a month where the U.S. economy added 130,000 payrolls, below the expectations of many economists.

Custom software development does remain a strong area in tech hiring, with 10,200 new jobs added in August in technology services, custom software development and computer systems design. That total accounted for more than one-quarter of all professional and business services jobs added to the entire economy last month.

“In contrast to facets of the national labor market, tech hiring continues to deliver both quantity and quality in terms of employment gains,” said Tim Herbert, executive vice president for research and market intelligence at CompTIA. “Beyond the net new jobs created tech positions pay substantially higher wages on average, offer more career on-ramps for candidates of any background, and more opportunities for advancement.”

Engineer businesswoman in network server room

In addition to the increase in new jobs in technology services, custom software development and computer systems design, job gains were also recorded in the computer and electronic products manufacturing, up 2,300 positions, including 1,100 in computer and peripheral equipment manufacturing; and other information services, including search portals (+ 3,400). Job losses were reported in telecommunications (- 3,600) a tech sector that has seen a steady loss of jobs for several months.

Through the first eight months of 2019, tech sector hiring is up by an estimated 89,500 positions, BLS data shows. Excluding the job losses in telecom, IT industry employment growth for the year would total 117,700 new positions.

The unemployment rate for IT occupations edged up slightly from its historic low, to 1.5 percent in August, compared to the 3.7 percent unemployment rate for the entire economy.

According to CompTIA’s Cyberstates, tech occupations have a median wage of nearly $82,000, about double that of the median national wage across all occupations. Tech wages at the 75th or 90th percentile show an even greater premium.

Looking forward, the number of job postings for core technology positions increased by an estimated 69,300 in August from July, the CompTIA report says. While not every job posting results in a new hire, the help wanted data is an indicator of where companies are headed with their technology investments.

Software and application developer positions remain the most in-demand tech jobs that employers are looking to fill, with 95,200 job postings. Computer user support specialists (27,000 job openings), computer systems engineers and architects (21,900 job openings), computer systems analysts (20,200 job openings) and information technology project managers (17,500 job openings) rounded out the top five list of IT occupation job postings last month.

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