IT Employment Gains in First Quarter

But the Unemployment Rate Among IT Pros Rises to 5.5% There's mixed news on IT labor front.

Employment among information technology professionals rose by an annualized 24,000 jobs during the first quarter of 2010 to 3,805,000, up from 3,781,000 in the fourth quarter 2009, an Information Security Media Group analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics employment data reveals. However, the unemployment rate among IT managers and staffers during the first quarter rose to an annualized 5.5 percent from the previous quarter's 5.2 percent.

A year ago, 3,954,000 people held jobs in IT, and the jobless rate stood at 3.2 percent.

The good news is that not only the number of employed IT pros increased during the past quarter, but the number of people in the IT labor force also has grown, too, to 4,025,000 from 3,989,000. That suggests that discouraged IT pros who left the labor market have returned in hope of finding a new job.

Still, the larger IT workforce resulted in the uptick in the IT unemployment rate. The number of unemployed IT professionals grew to 220,000 in the first quarter, up from 208,000 in the fourth quarter. A year ago, the IT workforce stood at 4,086,000 strong with 132,000 computer pros out of works.

The Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics does not track information security employment, with most infosec jobs incorporated in one of the eight IT occupations. The bureau tracks more than 400 occupation titles, including eight involving information technology: computer and information systems managers, computer scientists and systems analysts, computer programmers, computer software engineers, computer support specialists, database administrators, network and computer systems administrators and network systems and data communications analysts. Each month, government survey-takers interview 400,000 households. And using this survey, BLS reports the nation's unemployment rate on the first Friday of each month, which stood at 9.7 percent in March.

To enhance reliability, ISMG aggregates a year's worth of Bureau of Labor Statistics data for each quarterly report. For example, to get the first quarter numbers reported here, we added the published quarterly employment statistics from first quarter 2010 and the second, third and fourth quarters of 2009, and then divide by four. This process, in effect, quadruples the sample size and smoothes out some quarter-to-quarter fluctuations in the data that may occur. In effect, it's annualizing the quarterly employment numbers.

The BLS does not report monthly individual occupation employment data. Though it publishes employment and unemployment data on individual occupations quarterly, the bureau doesn't promote that fact; the government neither posts them on nor issues a press release touting the stats. They're available upon request, however. So, the figures reported here represent our analysis of the government data.

About the Author

Eric Chabrow

Eric Chabrow

Retired Executive Editor, GovInfoSecurity

Chabrow, who retired at the end of 2017, hosted and produced the semi-weekly podcast ISMG Security Report and oversaw ISMG's GovInfoSecurity and InfoRiskToday. He's a veteran multimedia journalist who has covered information technology, government and business.

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