US IT jobs gain for second month in pandemic recovery

Economic uncertainty is making companies cautious about hiring IT pros, with a full recovery not expected until spring 2021.

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September 2020

Although the U.S. IT and telecommunications job market is still expected to shrink by 64,000 jobs in 2020 versus 2019, the worst may be over – and about a third of the IT jobs lost during the COVID-19 pandemic are expected to have come back by 2021. That’s according to the most recent survey of IT executives by management consultancy Janco Associates.

For the first time in six months, August saw a net gain in the number of IT jobs: up 6,900. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics also revised the number of IT jobs lost in July, showing 4,400 fewer jobs were lost than originally reported. Still, over the last 12 months, IT jobs fell by 81,800, nearly erasing the 90,200 jobs gained in 2019.

“IT hiring will remain soft but improving slightly. …Major many companies are resuming existing operations slowly, but are holding back on any expansion until after the [Nov. 3] election,” said Janco’s latest report.

But some sectors will continue to lose jobs, it noted, including the airline industry, which is poised to lay off tens of thousands of employees across all roles, not just IT, as federal COVID-related subsidies end on Sept. 30. Cities such as Portland, Ore. that have seen ongoing civil unrest due to protests over police killings of Black citizens will also see deferred hiring until the unrest subsides, Janco said.

IT organizations remain cautious on spending, with very few new initiatives or expansions of current efforts being funded beyond the initial rampup in work-from-home and social-distancing technology investments at the start of the crisis.

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