TechAmerica: US IT industry adds jobs in 2011

Job gains in the first six months of this year nearly cancel out losses during 2010, the foundation says

The U.S. technology industry added 115,000 jobs in the first half of 2011, nearly erasing job losses in the sector during 2010, according to a new report from the TechAmerica Foundation.

Job losses in the IT industry during 2010 totaled 115,800, about 2 percent of the tech workers in the U.S. From 2007 to 2010, during a recession, the U.S. tech industry lost 4 percent of its jobs, with 249,500 jobs lost in 2009, compared to a 7 percent decline for U.S. private industry as a whole, the foundation said in its Cyberstates 2011 report.

As of June, the U.S. tech industry -- including high-tech manufacturing, communications services, software services and engineering and tech services -- had nearly 5.9 million jobs, the foundation said. Engineering and tech services added 56,800 jobs in the first half of 2011, while software services added jobs both in 2010 and 2011, said Matthew Kazmierczak, the foundation's executive director.

Some sectors of the U.S. tech industry seem to have "turned the corner" from the recent recession, Kazmierczak said. Still, it is difficult to predict what will happen with tech hiring in the second half of 2011, he added.

Cloud computing, cybersecurity and mobile devices and applications seem to be driving much of the job growth this year, he said. The worldwide demand for those products and services translates into more U.S. jobs, he added.

California is the state with the most high-tech workers, with 931,000, the report said. Texas is second with 456,500, followed by New York, Virginia and Florida, all with more than 265,000 IT workers.

Eight states bucked the trend in 2010 and added tech jobs. Michigan had the largest gain in 2010 with 2,700 IT jobs, followed by the District of Columbia, West Virginia and Utah, although West Virginia and Utah each added just 400 IT jobs in 2010.

For the sixth straight year, Virginia led the nation in the highest concentration of tech workers, with 98 of every 1,000 private sector workers employed in the tech industry. Massachusetts and Colorado were second and third.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is grant_gross@idg.com.

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