US IT job growth continues — and has more than regained pandemic losses

The US IT industry has seen strong job growth so far in 2021, according to revised figures from the US Bureal of Labor Statistics (BLS) as reported in the latest figures from IT employment consultancy Janco Associates.

The BLS has adjusted its figures on job growth for all of 2021, bringing the total hires to 69,000 IT staffers through June. The agency had previously reported 47,700 jobs through May, a figure now revised upward to 57,100. June saw an addirtional 11,900 hires, and it’s possible the BLS could revise its figures again in future reports.

Janco also confirmed previously reported preliminary data on US IT salaries from its own surveys. As the jobs market remains steady in its post-COVID recovery, IT salaries have started to increase as organizations struggle to fill some positions.

That salary survey shows that IT execs in large enterprises are getting the largest salary boosts, with a median increase of 3.2%. Those in midsize enterprises are seeing median rises of 1.2%. For lower-level positions, IT pros do better at midsize enterprises than at large ones: Middle managers at large enterprises are seeing 0.6% boosts, while those at medium-sized firms are seeing 1.3% increases.

IT staffers are seeing the least improvement — an ongoing phenomemon across all company sizes, in which IT execs continue to be rewarded more. Staffers at large enterprises are realizing 0.4% gains; those at midsize enterprises are seeing 0.7% gains. 

At its worst, more than 100,000 IT jobs were lost during the depths of the pandemic in spring 2020, though two-thirds of those came back as the year progressed. Still, 2020 ended with 33,200 fewer IT jobs in the US compared to 2019. With the 69,000 estimated job gains so far in 2021, the US IT job market at the end of June is at 16,700 ahead of the 2020 peak in February — and nearly 140,000 jobs ahead of the 2020 nadir in July.

There are more than 3.6 million IT pro jobs in the US, Janco estimates.

The monthly tech jobs report released by the CompTIA industry association calculated that there were 10,500 new US tech sector jobs in June, following gains in each previous month of 2021. The US tech sector’s job numbers have now essentially matched their March 2020 peak of 4.76 million positions, according to the CompTIA data.

CompTIA calculates both technical and nontechnical positions at tech vendors, with roughly 44% being technical and 56% being nontechnical, whereas Janco looks at IT positions, including software developers, in all industries.

CompTIA’s data does show a softening of hiring, with small reductions in job postings in several roles, such as for software developers and systems analysts, as well as in several cities, including Washington, D.C., Atlanta, and San Francisco. By contrast, postings grew for positions in San Jose, Calif. The data show more variability, indicating perhaps some settling of hiring activities.

CompTIA calculated the estimated unemployment rate for the tech sector as 2.2% in June, down from 2.4% in May. The current tech unemployment rate is approaching its 2018-19 lows, where it ranged from 1.2% to 2.4%.

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