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IT jobs growth detected with a microscope

National unemployment remains at 10% (officially), but if you include people who are underemployed and who have given up looking for work that number is actually at 17.3%. Not pretty.

But Foote Partners LLC, the IT workforce management consultancy, points out that the country has experienced four consecutive months of growth in the IT jobs market (PDF).

On its face, that sounds nice. Four months of jobs growth? The country would love to see something like that for all job categories. However, Foote notes that the country gained about 7,600 IT jobs in December. That’s not exactly an explosion of opportunities, but it is a flicker of hope.

Despite this job growth, it doesn’t look like IT departments are actually hiring. Foote notes that the Department of Labor stats are showing the most growth in two categories: “Management & Technical Consulting Services” and “Computer Systems and Design and Related Services.” This implies that the companies are bringing in consultants, contractors and managed services rather than adding new employees.

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