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Jobs Report: Tech Hiring Grew In December

IT sector weathered 2009 recession better than many industries, new data shows.

The nation's employers added about 5,200 tech jobs last month even as the broader economy shed 85,000 positions from November to December, according to data released Friday by the U.S. Department of Labor and analyzed by InformationWeek.

For 2009, the number of workers employed in the IT industry was down slightly compared to the previous year—an indication that the tech sector weathered the recession better than many industries hit by the downturn.

Tech employment increased to 3,871,100 positions in December, up slightly from 3,865,900 in November.

The biggest gains were seen in the system design and consulting categories. Employment in the former rose .02%, to 1,477,100 jobs, while employment in the latter increased .03%, to 1,033,900 positions.

Hardest hit was tech manufacturing. Employment in computer and computer-related products manufacturing fell 10% month-to-month, to 1,227,900 jobs.

On a yearly basis, tech employment in the U.S. was off about 3% from December 2008 to December 2009. By comparison, construction sector employment fell 7.4% last year, while financial services was off 4%, the data showed.

Some tech industry hiring last year was spurred by offshore firms that have begun to set up shop in the U.S. Indian outsourcer TCS, for instance, recently opened a 196,000-square foot office park in Milford, Ohio, near Cincinnati.

Such hiring was offset, however, by job-shedding at some U.S.-based technology majors. IBM reduced its U.S. headcount to 105,000 last year, down from 115,000 in 2008. Big Blue is looking to diversify its geographic footprint and is aggressively building up its workforce in India, China, and other emerging markets.

Overall, the nation shed 85,000 jobs from November to December, and unemployment remained at roughly 10%, according to the DOL statistics.

Our "A New IT Manifesto" report looks at a variety of new approaches and technologies that let IT rebels take on a whole new role, enhancing their companies' competitiveness and engaging their entire organizations more intimately with customers. Download the report here (registration required).

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