Main image of article Tech Unemployment Rose (Slightly) Last Quarter
Shutterstock_124086634 The technology industry’s unemployment rate rose slightly in the second quarter of 2016, hitting 2.1 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In the second quarter of 2015, it reached 2.0 percent. The technology industry continues to outdo the overall U.S. labor market, where the unemployment rate stood at 4.9 percent for the second quarter. As with most quarters, certain segments monitored by the BLS performed better on the employment front than others. The unemployment rate for Web developers, for example, rose from 3.10 percent in the second quarter of 2015 to 4.70 percent in the second quarter of 2016. By contrast, the unemployment rate for computer support specialists declined from 3.50 percent in the year-ago quarter to 1.20 percent. Network and systems administrators, software developers, and information security analysts likewise saw their unemployment rates go down year-over-year, even as the rate rose for computer & information systems managers, programmers, and computer systems analysts. Computer and electronic products manufacturing lost 3,200 jobs in the second quarter, worse than the same quarter in 2015, when the segment lost 400 positions. Although the manufacturing segment gains jobs in some quarters, it also goes through regular downturns as many companies move their factory operations offshore. In addition, the demand for PCs and other hardware has steadily slackened over the past few years. BLS data suggests that the average rate of voluntary quits for the first two months of the quarter, the latest period for which data is available, stood at 546,000, a significant increase from the second quarter of 2015, when the rate stood at 503,700 per month. The latest number indicates that, despite the slight uptick in overall tech unemployment, technology professionals feel the economy is strong enough for them to leave their current position in search of new jobs with higher salaries and better perks. Preliminary BLS data also suggests that the total average layoffs and discharges for April and May, the latest months for which numbers are available, was 391,500. That represents a decrease from the second quarter of 2015, when average layoffs and discharges stood at 437,300. As with the high rate of voluntary quits, the lower pace of layoffs hints at a tech economy that remains strong.