OK, so the October numbers from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics are out this morning. They show a very modest 80,000 increase in employment for September, along with a negligible decrease in overall “official” unemployment from 9.1 to 9.0 percent. Not much improvement seems to spell not much hope for injecting more vigor into our lackluster economic recovery, nor much by way of expectations as we close out the third year since the events of 2008 triggered a worldwide economic slowdown.
If there’s one modest ray of sunshine in this latest report, it’s probably best represented by Table A-14 “Unemployed persons by industry and class of worker, not seasonally adjusted.” Here’s a data snippet with header and entries that represents what I’m getting at.
|Snippet from 11/4/2011 Employment Situation Summary Table A-14|
|Industry & class of worker||10/10 Unemployment||10/11 Unemployment|
|Professional & business svcs||6.7%||5.8%|
It looks like things have improved substantially for the sectors that matter most for IT (32% for Information, and 13% for Professional and Business Services) in the past year. But this is a case of seemingly good numbers that are not matched by equally good or optimistic feelings. As I have said so many times before in the past few months, the IT employment outlook remains in “hunker down” mode until the general employment logjamb clears, and employers become more bullish on hiring more permanent workers.
Sigh. Makes me wonder what lies ahead for 2012, except more of the same. Could this be the “death of one thousand miniscule monthly employment gains?” Maybe so! Perhaps that’s better than the “death of one thousand miniscule mothly employment cuts” but who’s got the strength or patience to make that call?