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August hiring essentially flat; gains in tech services and software development offset by declines in manufacturing and telecom
DOWNERS GROVE, Ill., Sept. 7, 2018 – Coming off its best hiring month of 2018, the U.S. information technology (IT) sector was unable to maintain that positive momentum in August, an analysis released today by CompTIA, the leading technology industry association reveals.
Hiring for the month was essentially flat, as the tech sector shed 400 jobs in August, according to CompTIA’s review of the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics “Employment Situation” report.
The addition of 3,900 positions in IT services, custom software development, and computer system design was not enough to overcome employment declines in telecommunications (down 4,000) and computer, electronics and semiconductor manufacturing (down 1,800).
Modest employment gains were recorded in other information services, including search portals (+ 800) and data processing, hosting and related services (+ 700).
Across the entire economy, employers added some 80,000 core technology jobs to their employment roles in August. That marks two consecutive months of positive results, as July data showed a gain of about 75,000 jobs.
“Tech manufacturing’s run of 14 consecutive months of job gains came to end,” said Tim Herbert, senior vice president for research and market intelligence at CompTIA. “While it is difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of a downturn in any given month, the escalating disruption to international trade is certainly weighing on the minds of industry executives.”
Even with the step back in August, the fundamentals of the industry remain strong.
According to the “CompTIA IT Industry Business Confidence Index” for Q3 2018, 82 percent of technology companies surveyed said their margins and net profitability improved or held steady during the first half of the year.
Additionally, about one-half of firms reported that customer demand for tech products and services increased during the first six months of 2018. That was true for both core technology product and services (reported by 55 percent of tech firms) and emerging technologies (50 percent).
Through the first eight months of 2018 tech sector employment has expanded by an estimated 58,300 positions. Four of five categories have recorded job gains: IT services, custom software development, and computer system design (+ 50,300); computer, electronics, and semiconductor manufacturing (+ 10,800); other information services, including search portals (+ 9,000); and data processing, hosting and related services (+ 8,800). The telecommunications category is down 20,600 jobs for the year.
The number of employer job postings in August for core technology positions declined by 39,000 in August but still totaled more than 261,000.