Limited hiring for software and data pros in December caps otherwise downward year

Following two consecutive months of strong job gains, hiring in the U.S technology sector slowed in December, adding only 6,000 new jobs according to an analysis by CompTIA, the leading technology industry association.

The bulk of December’s new hiring occurred in computer and electronic product manufacturing (adding 3,600 jobs) and IT services, custom software development and computer system design (adding 2,200 jobs), according to CompTIA’s analysis of the Bureau of Labor Statistics “Employment Situation” report.

Positions in services, software development and systems design accounted for an estimated 77 percent of all tech jobs gain in the IT sector in 2018, the report indicated.

Other information services, including search portals (adding 400 jobs) and data processing, hosting and related services (adding 300 jobs) also showed limited employment growth last month, while the telecommunications category shed 500 jobs.

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Joseph Galo, application support engineer at MobiTV, Inc., along with other engineers run the daily maintenance and procedures in the network operations center at the company's headquarters in Emeryville, California, U.S., on Thursday, Sept. 30, 2010. Photographer: Tony Avelar/Bloomberg

“The tech employment numbers for last month were fairly uneventful,” said Tim Herbert, senior vice president for research and market intelligence at CompTIA. “Looking at the bigger picture, we expect a continuation of a tight labor market for tech talent through 2019.”

The unemployment rate for IT occupations for December was 2.1 percent, slightly lower than December 2017. That compares to an overall unemployment rate of 3.9 percent nationally.

The other significant finding from the December jobs report was that across the entire U.S. economy, the number of core technology occupations was reduced by an estimated 18,000 positions in December from the beginning of 2018. For the year, there were six months of job gains and six months of job losses in core tech jobs in all industries.

New job postings for technology workers also declined in December, down about 45,000 from the previous month. Software and application developers continues to top the list of IT job postings, with more than 67,000 last month. Other in-demand positions include computer user support specialists (20,900) and computer systems engineers and architects (17,300).

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