Since this Friday’s big story is certain to be the monthly BLS jobs report, it’s a good time for another look at the WaveLength Tech Jobs Index series. Throughout the Great Recession, demand for technology employees has outpaced labor demand in the general economy. However, as the chart below clearly shows, declines accelerated in most cities during the summer months.
So year to date, the tech industry’s job epicenter of the Bay Area fell nearly 21% to post the largest decline. Boston fell 15% and even fast-growing Austin has been hit with demand off 14%. On the other hand, while slower-to-recover Atlanta logged the biggest tech jobs demand increase of nearly 6%. San Diego held steady with nearly 1% increase since last January, while other cities posted single digit demand declines.
A summer slowdown for our industry is hardly unusual, so the comparison to last August is important. Seven of the 10 markets have posted higher demand for tech employees when compared to the same time last year. The top spot is not really surprising; Dallas, a city in the only US state to actually add jobs during the Great Recession, tops the list with a 12.2% growth in tech jobs demand. Other standouts are Seattle and Atlanta.
Tech job demand is off most in the low-volatility labor market of Washington DC. Since Washington DC is a company town for government, it does not grow, nor does it contract quite like other US tech cities. Nonetheless, fiscal pressures will likely increasingly pressure tech job demand. Demand for tech employees is also lower year-over-year in San Diego and in Raleigh Durham.
Even though recent WaveLength Tech Jobs Index values are trending negative, it’s important to remember where we’ve been. Since we started collecting data nearly 2 years ago, demand for tech professionals has at least doubled in almost all tech cities. The laggard, San Diego, has seen strong gains since the Great Recession’s bottom.
So hang in there, and watch for the next quarter’s WaveLength Index release. The last quarter of the year is usually strong for technology buying, and for technology hiring, so it’ll be much more meaningful as to what we can expect for 2012.
The number of job postings is collected every Wednesday using well-known job sites and then calculated into a composite per city. The index contains 6 common functions found in every technology company, including product marketing, product management, application developer, network engineer, sales, and marketing. The index series is designed to measure monthly changes using a smoothed 4-week average rolled up into an overall composite. The program was includes coverage of 10 high tech cities since October 28, 2009. We update our research monthly. We feature 10 market segments – Austin, Atlanta, Bay Area, Boston, Dallas, Denver, San Diego, Seattle, Raleigh/Durham, and Washington DC. Feel free to visit http://www.wlanalytics.com/wordpress/