IT employment bucks national trend

Look at this month's National Association of Computer Consultant Businesses (NACCB) IT employment index and you'll find two things: good news and great news.

Last month, the NACCB reported that employment for IT pros rose by nearly one-quarter of 1 percent (0.23 percent) to 3,525,600. That may seem like an underwhelming figure, but it could have been a lot worse. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), non-farm, payroll employment was essentially unchanged in October, growing by about 56,000 jobs. That's good news, especially with the U.S. as a whole, and the Southeast in particular, struggling with the economic aftershocks of Hurricane Katrina.

To put things in perspective, the NACCB says IT employment increased by 8,200, accounting for about one in seven new jobs the BLS says were added in October.

There's always a danger of apples-to-oranges comparisons whenever survey-gathering and statistics are at issue; and the NACCB's survey, based on a study of staffing patterns for a dozen IT- and computer-related occupations in 16 industries and verticals, isn't nearly as comprehensive (or as methodologically trusted) as that of the BLS. Even so, there's basis for comparison here.

The report shows relatively healthy IT job growth in the U.S. during a period when job growth as a whole remained stagnant.

More important, October's IT job growth reversed a decline in September. It also helped boost year-over-year IT job growth. In fact, the NACCB says, IT employment was up by 1.2 percent from October of 2004.

IT job growth is still off its pre-Katrina August peak, however. At that point, the NACCB estimates, there were 3,544,000 IT jobs.

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a contributing editor for Enterprise Systems. He can be reached at [email protected].