Tag Archives: unemployment

  • Tech Unemployment Hits 2.0 Percent

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    Tech-industry unemployment hit 2.0 percent in April, down from 2.4 percent in March, according to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

    Computer and electronic-product manufacturing gained 500 jobs in April, while technology consulting added 7,300 positions. Data processing, hosting, and related services lost 600 jobs that month.

    The tech industry continues to enjoy higher employment than the broader U.S. economy, where the unemployment rate remained at 5.0 percent in April. Among tech professionals, the rate of voluntary quits continues strongly, which many pundits and economists view as a sign of a healthy economy; people tend to leave their jobs, the thinking goes, when they feel confident enough in the strength of their industry to land a new, better position.

    Despite those positive signs, not all tech segments have enjoyed robust employment growth over the past few months. For example, the unemployment rate for Web developers climbed to 6.6 percent in the first quarter of 2016, up from 4.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015. Computer-systems analysts also saw their unemployment rate uptick slightly during that same period, to 2.1 percent. As with other industries, technology experiences seasonal shifts in employment; the beginning of the first quarter also sees the end of many yearly contracts.

    In any case, it’s clear that many tech firms remain in a hiring mood, which is good news for tech pros of all disciplines.

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  • Tech Unemployment Hit 2.5 Percent in February

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    The country’s tech unemployment rate hit 2.5 percent last month, a slight uptick over the 2.4 percent reported in February 2015, according to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

    The technology segments monitored by the BLS experienced a mix of job losses and gains. For example, technology consulting added 4,400 positions in February, down from 4,600 in January. Data processing, hosting, and related services gained 900 jobs, a notable bounce-back after losing 500 in January.

    Computer and electronic product manufacturing lost 400 positions, a considerable reversal after gaining 4,000 jobs in January. Manufacturing has long been a soft spot in the overall technology-jobs outlook, thanks in large part to a combination of manufacturing automation and outsourcing.

    Overall, the technology industry continues to enjoy higher employment than the broader economy, where the unemployment rate stands at a (still historically low) 4.9 percent. While some pundits have expressed concern over recent layoffs at large tech firms such as Yahoo, and some smaller startups’ newfound inability to land lots of venture capital, the overall economy clearly still needs skilled technologists to help keep it running.

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  • Is the Tech Bubble Bursting?

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    In the first two months of the year, a number of tech firms laid off staff. Yahoo let 15 percent of its employees go, for example, while BlackBerry slashed a reported 35 percent of its headquarters staff.

    Nor were the layoffs restricted to massive, struggling tech companies. According to a handy chart compiled by TechCrunch, smaller firms such as NewsCred also culled staff.

    “I think companies that had planned to grow through acquisitions don’t have the war chest they thought they would,” Teri McFadden, a vice president of recruiting at Northwest Venture Partners, told the Website. Venture funding, she added, has slowed in recent months.

    Recent data from the National Venture Capital Association (as reported by Bloomberg) backs that assertion, showing that venture capital decreased from $31.1 billion in 2014 to $28.2 billion last year, even as 235 venture-capital funds closed.

    When the stock market plunged earlier this year, taking the valuations of many tech companies with it, a number of pundits openly questioned whether the tech industry was in yet another bubble—one in the process of bursting. But as the Los Angeles Times recently pointed out, stock prices for many bellwether tech firms subsequently stabilized. Meanwhile, tech unemployment remains low, having hit 2.4 percent in January (down from 3.6 percent in December 2015, and far below the national unemployment rate of 4.9 percent).

    And despite some market turbulence, the tech industry looks nothing like it did in 2001 or 2008, when popping financial bubbles outright doomed dozens of tech companies, some of them very high-profile (hi, Pets.com!). Thousands of tech professionals aren’t losing their jobs; if anything, companies are fighting vigorously to secure top talent.

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  • Tech Employment Snapshot: Q4 2015

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    The technology industry’s unemployment rate edged downward in the fourth quarter of 2015, hitting 2.9 percent—a tenth of a percentage point down from the third quarter of the year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Although that’s higher than earlier in 2015, when the unemployment rate in tech dipped as low as 2.0 percent, it’s still better than the overall U.S. labor market, where the unemployment rate hit 5.0 percent in the fourth quarter. Check out Dice’s latest Tech Employment Snapshot for Q4 2015 (PDF) in order to see the full range of jobs created/lost (with some nifty visualizations).

    In the fourth quarter, a number of technology segments monitored by the BLS saw a notable decrease in unemployment. For example, the unemployment rate for Web developers fell from 5.10 percent in the third quarter to 
4.40 percent in the fourth; for computer systems analysts, the dive was even steeper, from 3.80 percent to 1.80 percent during the same timeframe. Network systems administrators, software developers, and computer & information systems managers likewise saw decreases.

    For a few other professions, unemployment rose. Computer support specialists saw their joblessness rate rise from 4.20 percent in the third quarter to 5.30 percent in the fourth; programmers’ rate bumped from 2.60 percent to 3.20 percent.

    In sum, the technology segment closed out the year with low unemployment for many segments, and signs that technology professionals remain upbeat about their prospects. From an employer perspective, that means continuing pressure to offer competitive salaries and perks to attract the necessary talent. The Tech Employment Snapshot offers some additional data about voluntary quits, another important hiring measure, as well as layoffs and discharges.

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  • Tech Unemployment Stays Low

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    According to new data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), tech-industry unemployment hovered at 2.6 percent in December 2015. That’s a notable decrease from November, when the BLS plugged the rate at 3.4 percent.

    Unemployment within the tech industry fluctuates throughout the year in response to external forces, including seasonal workers. Throughout 2015, the rate of voluntary quits also remained high, as many tech pros left their jobs to pursue new opportunities.

    That being said, not all tech-industry categories are created equal. In any given quarter, the unemployment rate for programmers or computer systems analysts might rise, for example, while falling for software developers and information systems managers. Manufacturing has remained a relative bleak spot in the tech industry’s employment ledger for quite some time, as the combined forces of offshoring and automation force reductions in U.S. headcount—if not factory closings.

    The latest annual salary survey by Dice also suggests that tech professionals are enjoying a sizable increase in pay, with average salaries rising 7.7 percent last year. But again, not every pro saw the same increase; those specializing in skills related to Big Data or the cloud, most notably Cassandra, Cloudera, OpenStack, and CloudStack, saw double-digit percentage increases in their salaries, year-over-year.

    Average salaries also varied on a state-by-state basis, hitting the six-figure mark in seven markets for the first time in Dice’s annual study. We’ve built an interactive map that shows you were salaries have grown the fastest.

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  • Tech Unemployment Rises In Some Categories

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    The technology industry’s unemployment rate crept up to 3.0 percent in the third quarter of 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Although that represents an increase from the second quarter, when tech unemployment stood at 2.0 percent, it’s nonetheless lower than the 5.2 percent unemployment rate for the U.S. labor market as a whole.

    Many technology segments saw an accompanying rise in joblessness. Web developers, for example, saw their collective unemployment rate hit 5.10 percent, up from 3.70 percent in the same quarter last year. Computer systems analysts, programmers, network and systems administrators, software developers, and computer & information systems managers likewise experienced a slight rise in unemployment on a year-over-year basis.

    But does that mean the tech economy is softening? Other indicators suggest the overall industry remains strong. Layoffs and discharges for July and August, the latest months for which the BLS had preliminary data, hit 377,000 and 378,000, respectively. That represents a decline from both the first and second quarter, when the layoff and discharge rate stood at more than 400,000 per month.

    In the third quarter, voluntary quits among tech pros also remained robust, with an average of 500,000 employees per month deciding to quit their jobs. Analysts tend to interpret higher numbers of voluntary quits as a sign that employees are feeling positively enough about the economy to leave their current positions in order to pursue better opportunities.

    If there’s one bleak spot in this quarter’s economic reading, it’s manufacturing, which continues to suffer from weak demand for electronic products and hardware. That’s not a new tale; with the substantial majority of tech manufacturing taking place in Asia, and most of the nation’s tech hubs centered around companies devoted to software, the number of available manufacturing jobs in the U.S. has slowly but steadily declined.

    When it comes to the health of the broader tech economy, the numbers to watch are the respective unemployment rates for Web programming and other “hot” categories. For the moment, despite some upticks, those numbers remain largely positive for tech pros.

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  • Dice Report: Fast-Growing Cities for Tech Pros

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    Many U.S. cities hope to become technology hubs, and with good reason: A dynamic mix of startups and mature tech companies not only brings a massive influx of tax dollars, but also hordes of well-educated, highly skilled tech professionals.

    But which cities are succeeding at building up demand for tech pros? A new analysis by Dice reveals that, over the past year, Salt Lake City has seen an 85 percent increase in the number of postings for tech jobs in the area. Far behind at second was Cincinnati, with a 44 percent increase year-over-year, followed by Miami (41 percent), Milwaukee (24 percent), Kansas City (18 percent), and Raleigh (17 percent).

    Other cities in the top ten included Detroit (16 percent), Hartford (13 percent), Seattle (12 percent), and Nashville (11 percent).

    E-commerce retailers, video-game developers, and some large software-makers all boast a strong presence in the area around Salt Lake City, drawn by a combination of low taxes, local schools producing skilled workers, and infrastructure to support businesses and lifestyles. Other cities on the list, such as Raleigh and Kansas City, have similarly grown tech hubs thanks to a combination of nearby universities, advantageous tax rates, affordable housing, and communities that make people want to stay.

    Many of the cities on this list also have the advantage of being relatively new in their attempts to foster tech communities; once they become mature markets, along the lines of Silicon Valley, the high-percentage growth tends to level off.

    Nationwide, the economy for tech pros remains strong. In August, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, roughly 507,000 people in Professional and Business Services (which includes tech and STEM positions) quit their jobs, up from 493,000 in July. (It’s also a notable increase over August 2014, when 456,000 professionals voluntarily quit.) A rise in voluntary quits suggests that tech pros feel good enough about the economy to either jump to a new position or try their hand at freelancing.

    For tech pros, the numbers add up to an optimistic message heading into 2016. With more tech hubs emerging across the United States, there’s an ever-higher chance that their ideal job waits only a short distance away.

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