IT Services Payrolls RiseHarbinger of a Halt in IT Job Slide
Employment among firms offering computer systems design and other services, commonly referred to as IT services firms, rose by 7,900 to 1,464,300 in July, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. So far in 2009, IT services employers have shed 2,500 jobs.
As a comparison, in the overall economy, employers reduced payrolls by 247,000 in July, the fewest in a year. The national unemployment rate fell for the first time in 15 months to 9.4 percent. The government doesn't issue monthly employment numbers for the IT profession; no separate occupational category exists for information security professionals, who are mostly grouped within several IT occupational subcategories.
However, BLS tracks employment among the IT occupational subcategories on a quarterly basis, and unemployment among IT professionals rose in the second quarter to an annualized 4.1 percent, the highest level in at least five years, according to an analysis of the government data by the Information Security Media Group, publisher of GovInfoSecurity.com, BankInfoSecurity.com and CUInfoSecurity.com. (See IT Employment at a 5-Year High.)
Not too much should be read into one month's worth of data, but the uptick in employment among IT services firms could mean that the public and private sectors need to fill needed positions previously eliminated to keep their operations functioning. Often, employers will turn to contractors to fill employment gaps before permanently hiring personnel, awaiting to see if a financial recovery will be sustained.
Meanwhile, the federal government - which unlike most states needn't balance its budget - saw its payrolls fattened by 12,000 employees last month - reversing two months of declines. Still, federal government employment is up by 55,000 in the past year.
The same isn't true for state governments, excluding education, which saw payrolls decline by 11,300 in July and 35,300 over the past 12 months.
All figures are seasonally adjusted and June and July data are preliminary.