IT Employment Trends: Healthier Than the National Stats


In the face of rising national unemployment, IT workers in general continue to experience lower unemployment rates. While the overall unemployment rate averaged 8.5% in 2Q:09, it was much less for many IT occupations. If a low unemployment is considered proxy for high demand, then computer programmers and database administrators are in high demand. Network systems and data communication analysts as well as computer software engineers are also seeing low unemployment numbers.

As companies work hard to keep IT workers on board, many businesses in IT/high-tech sectors are trimming wages and hours, which is generally consistent with overall trends. Despite an hourly wage increase of 2.3%, average weekly wages declined nationally by 0.7% in the past year because weekly hours dropped 2.9%.

The average workweek fell in many IT/high-tech sectors as it did throughout the country, but hourly wages and subsequent weekly wages rose in some high-demand sectors. For example, those working in data processing, hosting and related services benefited from an 8.8% rise in their hourly pay, but only saw a 4.0% rise in their weekly paychecks because hours were cut by 4.4%.

Those in computer systems design and related services saw both hourly wage declines (down 0.6%) and hours cut (down 2.8%). As a result, their weekly paychecks were down 3.4%. Others fared worse. Those working at ISPs and Web search portals saw hourly pay decline by 2.4% and hours cut by 5.9%. In total, their weekly paychecks declined by 8.1% from a year earlier.

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