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Tech Unemployment Low Despite Challenges Facing Economy

Nick Kolakowski from Dice Insights

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As the United States continues to dig its way out of the economic malaise unleashed by the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s one significant bright spot: Demand for technology jobs continues to increase, and tech unemployment remains relatively low.

According to CompTIA, technology occupations “throughout the economy” grew by 391,000 positions in December 2020. Overall, the tech-occupation unemployment rate that month was 3 percent, much lower than the 6.7 percent rate for the broader economy. 

“Tech hiring continues to bring a degree of stability to a still fragile labor market in an incomplete recovery,” Tim Herbert, executive vice president for research and market intelligence at CompTIA, wrote in a statement accompanying the data. “With projections of employer demand for tech talent remaining strong in the year ahead, we hope tech can continue to serve as a catalyst for business and career opportunity.”

Top roles enjoying an increase in employer job postings in December included software and application developers, IT support specialists, systems engineers and architects, systems analysts, and project managers. On a month-over-month basis, the major tech hubs of New York, Seattle, San Jose, and San Francisco saw significant increases, along with Chicago.

As we head into 2021, it’s clear that some of the country’s biggest companies are hungry to hire technologists. Based on a breakdown by Burning Glass, which collects and analyzes job postings from across the U.S., giants in healthcare, tech, and defense have been hiring thousands of technologists over the past 60 days, including Amazon, IBM, and Anthem Blue Cross.    

On the tech-industry front, this burst of hiring should come as no surprise. According to a recent New York Times article, Amazon has hired 427,300 employees since January 2020, bringing its total workforce to 1.2 million people; many of these are technologists selected to work on AWS, Alexa, and other tech products. Meanwhile, Facebook, Apple, Google, and Microsoft all profited immensely in 2020 thanks to their focus on cloud-based services, and that momentum shows no sign of slowing for the time being. 

But the need for technologists obviously isn’t limited to the tech industry. Companies everywhere have rushed to adapt to changed circumstances unleashed by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. For many executives, shifting the tech stack from on-premises to the cloud has become a priority; for others, securing valuable data against a rising number of cyberattacks, or ensuring that e-commerce portals continue to operate through a flood of traffic, have also taken priority. Whatever an individual company’s needs, it’s clear that technologists of all skill sets are needed to keep things running smoothly—a fact reflected in the overall unemployment rate. 

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