This morning’s job numbers indicate a declining unemployment rate. That’s the good news, but the bad news is that it is due to a declining population of job searchers and NOT growth in the number of jobs. According to labor statistics for April 2012, GDP growth is 2.2% and the unemployment rate is 8.1% with record low labor force participation rates. Against this larger employment picture, what does the WaveLength Tech Jobs Index look like for the Bay Area? In a word, it’s lukewarm.
As the chart indicates, current tech jobs demand is about equal to the spring of 2010, as the US economy struggled to recover from the cataclysmic events of fall 2008. Demand peaked about a year ago, and fell off fast when first quarter 2011 gross domestic product (GDP) numbers came out to be lower than expected. As the following table indicates, the WaveLength composite is down nearly 37% from that March 2011 peak.
Since December 2011, which is traditionally a time when demand softens, there has been definite improvement. The WaveLength Composite for the Bay Area is 3.4% higher. The biggest demand gains are seen in sales and product management functions, which show respective increases of nearly 19% and 17%. Product marketing demand is still declining with a drop of 5.3%.
To end on a more optimistic note, since the advent of the index in the fall of 2009, demand is nearly 100% higher for all tech job functions. Application development demand has been consistently up the most. Marketing-related functions have consistently lagged, but demand is still well off recession lows. So… in other words, we’ve already seen the worst. While demand is likely going to remain lumpy and highly tied to GDP growth, but unlike many other US industries, at least we have tech jobs demand.
The number of job postings is collected every Wednesday using well-known job sites and then calculated into the index for each job function. 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 geographic markets– Austin, Atlanta, Bay Area, Boston, Dallas, Denver, San Diego, Seattle, Raleigh/Durham, and Washington DC. Feel free to visit http://www.wlanalytics.com/wordpress/.