Tech Job Demand Improved In 2009

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The second half of 2009 saw growth in online job vacancies, including technology

Recent job vacancy data for the month of December pegs computer and math openings up 23,000 from November for a total of 467,000 nationally, according to a report from The Conference Board—a nonprofit business organisation.

Overall, the annual average for job openings in 2009 was down compared with the previous two years with 3,357,000, which is 1.1 million below 4,481,000 for 2008 and 1.3 million below the 2007 average.

For all occupations, job vacancies were up 255,000 in December. The good news is the averages of job openings in the second half of 2009 were positive. Job demand was up on average by 58,000, compared with negative 91,000 in the first half of the year.

“Employers’ modest increase in demand for labor in the second half of 2009 is a nice way to end what has been a very challenging year,” said Gad Levanon, senior economist at The Conference Board, in the 6 Jan. report. “The gap between the number of unemployed and the number of advertised vacancies is still very high, but the recent six months indicate that things are slowly moving in the right direction. The gap between the number of unemployed and the number of advertised vacancies is about 12 million, with 4.5 unemployed for every online advertised vacancy.”

Technology and math jobs saw a good ratio of openings to unemployed individuals seeking work, as did work in health care. The report compares and contrasts several industries to highlight job opportunities:

“Among the top ten occupations advertised online, there were more vacancies than unemployed people seeking positions for Healthcare Practitioners (0.3) and Computer and Mathematical Science (0.4). On the other hand, in Sales and Related Occupations, there were nearly four people seeking jobs in this field for every online advertised vacancy (3.8) and there were over five unemployed looking for work in Office and Administrative Support positions for every advertised opening (5.2).”

Regionally speaking, the South saw the highest demand of job openings, increasing by 120,400 for December. From the report (PDF):

“Texas gained 22,100, over twice its November gain. Virginia gained 19,600, its first gain since August, and offset nearly three times its recent losses. Florida gained 13,000. North Carolina was up 8,600 in December and Maryland gained 4,300, its first gain since August while Georgia was up 1,700. … In December, 26 of the 52 metropolitan areas for which data are reported separately posted over-the-year increases in the number of online advertised vacancies. Among the three metro areas with the largest numbers of advertised vacancies, the New York metro area was about 13 percent above its December 2008 level and the Washington, D.C. metro area was about 15 percent above its December 2008 level. The Los Angeles metro area was about 6 percent below last year’s level.”

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