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U.S. Jobs: Latest Numbers Show Gradual Growth and Expansion

The economy is growing and employment opportunities are expanding. While it's true that recent advancements have been both moderate and slow, the arrow is still pointing upward.

Peeps walking in glass buildingIt’s turning into something of a rule, with occasional exceptions. Each month’s employment numbers seem to come in at around 200,000 or so, with little or no change to unemployment. Growth is modest, but ongoing, and IT is seldom, if ever, the focus for either big dips or tall spikes in job counts.

 

That describes May, 2018, more or less to a T. According to the latest situation summary, employment waxed by 223,000 jobs for May, and unemployment dropped to a near-historic low of 3.8 percent.

 

The bulk of those jobs came in retail (+31,000), healthcare (+29,000), professional and technical services (+23,000), transportation and warehousing (+19,000), and manufacturing (+18,000; overall total: 120,000). The remaining 100,000 or so jobs are scattered across remaining sectors, with little change for mining, wholesale trade, information, financial activities, leisure and hospitality, and government.

 

Average hourly wages rose by $0.08 to $26.92, with a 2.7 percent growth rate for wages over the trailing 12 month period. March numbers got a bump from 135,000 to 165,000 (+20,000), while April dipped from 164,000 to 159,000 (-5,000) for a net gain of 15,000 jobs. The three month trailing average for job gains is 179,000, but the monthly average over the last 12 months is somewhat more respectable at 191,000.

 

Digging into the CompTIA Employment Tracker

 

CompTIA’s take on the numbers focuses exclusively on IT, both as a standalone business sector and as an important function found in most (if not all) companies and organizations. Their June 1 press release touts a “fourth consecutive month of job growth” in IT.

 

They estimate that 8,700 IT jobs were added in May, of which 6,600 went for IT services, custom software development, and computer system design; 2,200 for computer, electronics, and semiconductor manufacturing; and 2,200 for other information services, including search portals.

 

Some of those gains are offset by losing in other sectors, such as -1,900 for telecommunications and -400 for data processing. Go figure!

 

IT job postings are also up, with 314,000 reported for May (an increase of nearly 81,000 as compared to April), with software and application developer jobs (almost 95,000) heading up the spectrum of jobs covered thereby. Check out the CompTIA IT Employment Tracker for June 2018 for more numbers, including these:

 

IT occupation employment (those who do IT but not for IT companies) dipped slightly to 5.04 million or so. IT sector employment (those who work for IT companies) grew a hair to 4.54 million or so. Top occupation job postings include computer user support specialists, systems engineers and architects, systems analysts, and web developers.

 

All in all, things keep improving, though still at a glacial pace. So far, those hoping for an increase in interest rates to spur inflation and wage growth remain disappointed. Here’s hoping the arrow keeps pointing up, but that the velocity starts rising. Stay tuned for next month’s thrilling installment!

 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

ed-tittel120Ed Tittel is a 30-plus-year computer industry veteran who's worked as a software developer, technical marketer, consultant, author, and researcher. Author of many books and articles, Ed blogs on certification topics for Tom’s IT Pro, and on Windows desktop OS topics for TechTarget. Check out his website at www.edtittel.com.