The latest jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for July shows that all gains made by data professionals in June were more than wiped out, with a net loss of 2,300 data related jobs for the month.
The July report shows that data professionals are clearly on a roller-coaster ride in 2016. Three of the seven months reported so far were for losses in this jobs category, with February and June being the only solid months of gains. February saw 900 new data jobs added to payrolls, and June saw a dramatic rise to 2,200 jobs.
March saw the addition of 200 data-related jobs, and May accounted for 100. But those months were offset by a loss of 100 data jobs in January, a loss of 600 in April, and the latest number of 2300 losses in July. The monthly average for the first six months of the year was for 450 data related jobs added.
The July BLS report was a mixed bag, though information technology overall saw a net increase of 11,200 jobs. Leading the way in new job growth were computer systems design and related services. According to the BLS, computer systems design added 8,200 new jobs in July, significantly exceeding the 4,677 monthly average for the first six months of the year.
“Overall, July was a positive month for technology professionals in the U.S. following two months of turmoil in tech segments,” notes David Foote, CEO and chief analyst at Foote Partners, an industry research and consulting firm that tracks job growth.
But obviously not everything in the July report was rosy. In addition to the jobs lost in the data processing and hosting space, management and consulting services also dropped significantly – from a monthly average of 7,700 to 5,600. This was still a gain, but dramatically reduced.
So where does the industry stand at this point?
“One month earlier, in June, the story for me was evidence of a distinct unwillingness in employers to invest in additional full-time tech staff,” Foote said. “We saw this trend begin in June 2015 BLS numbers, and again in September and November, then a sustained lack of enthusiasm for hiring full-timers in December through March 2016.”
“Employers are still being cautious about adding overhead to their budgets, and that’s exactly to the disadvantage of full-time hires over consultants and contingent workers,” Foote continued. “But when they dig their heels into a solution that works, be it in the cloud, Big Data, mobile, or digital technology, they tend to add headcount because they know these people will be making contributions for a long time to come.”
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