A year ago we were staggering under a more than 14% unemployment rate due to the pandemic shutdowns. Last month, the jobs report for March 2021 shows promise for continuing economic renewal. All industries added jobs, and the number of jobs created exceeded expectations with the unemployment rate falling to 6%. Vaccine rollout and the stimulus put in place by the government have jumpstarted what is shaping up to be a strong economic recovery.
The IT sector has recovered nearly all of the jobs lost to the pandemic. More than 100,000 jobs were lost during the worst of the shutdowns last spring. Even though hiring and jobs increased through the end of 2020, there were still more than 33,000 fewer IT jobs at the end of the year compared to the year before.
With the March jobs report, the industry has added back 30,400 jobs in the first quarter of 2021, nearly erasing the losses of last year. According to Janco Associates, that growth is projected to continue through 2021. Employing the data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics monthly reports, it expects another 70,000 IT jobs this year.
According to CompTIA, March was the strongest month for hiring since last August and the growth spanned all 50 states. Their job posting data shows that Texas, Georgia, New York, Florida and Ohio had the largest month over month increase in IT job postings. At the metro level, New York City, Atlanta, Dallas, Austin and Richmond, Virginia had the highest increases.
Recovery in the technology sector is intimately tied to the overall economic recovery. Tech jobs are found in every industry and technology is part of the infrastructure of just about every business. Some industries with strong demand for IT workers include professional, scientific and technical services, finance and insurance, manufacturing, information and retail trade, according to CompTIA analysis.
Some specific job roles were more in demand, such as software and application developers, IT support specialists, systems engineer and architects. Emerging technologies such as cybersecurity, bitcoin, AI or roles requiring AI skills accounted for about 30% of the jobs posted.
The unemployment rate for IT fell to 1.9% in March, which is the lowest rate since August of 2019. As a result, we may be seeing the next wave of positions remaining unfilled due to a lack of candidates with the requisite skills. Other factors, such as the pandemic effect on the availability of quality childcare and the availability of the vaccines will impact the number of candidates who are actively applying for open positions.
With the economic recovery gaining steam, companies are stepping up their hiring in anticipation of full reopening post-pandemic. Have you encountered issues with finding qualified applicants for your open positions? Let us know in the comments.