Slowing job growth spreads to information technology

Low angle portrait of young African American data engineer working with supercomputer in server room lit by blue light and holding laptop, copy space(Getty Images/iStockphoto/SeventyFour)

The U.S. economy gained or regained just 199,000 jobs in December, down from 249,000 in November, according to the Department of Labor, marking the smallest monthly jobs gain in a year.

The slowdown in hiring includes the otherwise high-paying, red-hot information technology industry.

Alexandria, Virginia-based trade group TechServe Alliance reports the IT sector added just 2,000 jobs in December, little changed from the previous month. On a year-over-year basis, IT employment was up 2.72%, a growth of 142,800 professionals.

The IT sector ended 2021 with 5.39 million Americans working in the field.

“We expect a continued slowdown in hiring with a flat employment growth rate in the IT and engineering sectors for some time to come,” said Mark Roberts, CEO of TechServe Alliance, the national trade association of the IT and Engineering staffing and solutions industry.

“With the tech unemployment rate dropping to 2%, it is clear the slowdown is more a function of companies struggling to find qualified talent, rather than a lack of demand,” he said.

TechsServe recommends its members revisit compensation and benefits to make sure they are competitive, work with recruiters to adopt location-no-bar hiring policies, and update technology to increase a smooth remote work environment.

Below is a graph of TechServe Alliance’s IT Employment Index and Engineering Employment Index, dating back to late 2019:

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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