The tech unemployment rate rose to 2.2 percent in February, according to the latest CompTIA analysis of data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The national unemployment rate stood at 3.6 percent.
At first glance, that 2.2 percent might seem like a significant uptick from 1.5 percent in January. Among tech subsectors, only tech manufacturing enjoyed a net increase in new jobs (up 2,800) in February. However, CompTIA insists there’s still intense demand for tech professionals across the economy.
“As expected, the lag in labor market data means prior layoffs announcements are now appearing in BLS reporting,” Tim Herbert, chief research officer, CompTIA, wrote in a statement accompanying the latest data. “Context is critical. The recent pullback represents a relatively small fraction of the massive tech workforce. The long-term outlook remains unchanged with demand for tech talent powering employment gains across the economy.”
Across all industry sectors, tech occupations declined by 38,000 positions. “This represents a modest decline of about a half of one percent (0.6 percent) of the total base of tech employment across the economy,” added CompTIA’s note.
Over the past several months, tech unemployment continued to dip despite a flood of headlines about layoffs at some of the country’s biggest tech companies. Even as these tech giants cut tens of thousands of jobs, organizations throughout the economy continued to hire a broad range of tech professionals. Through January, multiple industries enjoyed strong tech job demand, including (but certainly not limited to) professional, scientific and technical services, finance and insurance, and manufacturing.
The reason for this dichotomy seemed pretty straightforward: the big tech companies had earned outsized profits during the pandemic, and used that money to engage in massive hiring sprees—until widespread fears of a recession took hold, at which point they began to cut budgets and headcount. Meanwhile, other companies continued their steady hiring.
Whatever the future holds, it’s important to keep in mind that organizations across the economy will always need tech professionals for everything from cybersecurity to building new websites. Even when the tech unemployment rate ticks up, there are still job openings.