I.T. job market growth in a number of industries slowed to 4,200 new jobs in December versus 8,700 added jobs in November, according to recent BLS data.

For the year 2012, there was a gain of 62,500 I.T. jobs, but the slow growth trend at the end of the year is a cause for concern. The total number of individuals (civilian non-institutional) looking for a job in December 2011 was 6,135,000 versus 6,750,000 in December 2012—an increase of 615,000.

“If a robust recovery does not occur, as some predict, it will not be a good time to be looking for a new job,” said Victor Janulaitis, CEO of Janco Associates, a management consulting firm that focuses on management information systems. “Granted there were 21,800 I.T. jobs added in the last three months, however, that number of new jobs is not enough to ease our concerns.”

Janco continues to be concerned that the data shows the labor market participation rate is at a record-low level and recovery may not be around the corner. The macro trend for labor participation since 2008 is down by 1.4 percent, which translates to approximately 3.8 million people who are excluded from the labor force calculation. “The year-to-year comparison of workforce participation shows how deep a hole we are in. Until those percentages turn around the recovery will be weak at best, IT demand will be dampened, and overall I.T. employment opportunities will remain at very low levels.”

The health care and financial services job market, however, has showed slight growth. In 2012, health care saw a 2.49-percent growth, and finance and insurance saw a 1.14-percent growth. Janco contends that health care is one area where IT Pros can go with the flow and find job opportunities and says the implementation of Electronic Patient Records is one of the driving forces in the increased opportunities in this area.

In a continuing survey of CIOs across a number of industries, Janco has found many are cautious but feel that overall hiring could improve in 2013. CIOs are keeping their current overall FTE (full time equivalent) headcounts level to slightly down and are looking to eliminate consultants and contractors along with any marginal activities their own staffs are working on, Janco says. “Few CIOs are looking to hire within the next three months. These CIOs are looking for particular sets of skills to meet the demands of mobile computing and toward implementation processes which will support users to use their own personal devices—BYOD—to minimize capital expenditures and improve ROI.”

Another recent survey showed slightly more promising results. According to a survey by Dice, a technology and engineering career community, 21 percent of hiring managers and recruiters reported they are likely to hire “substantially” more tech employees in the first half of 2013, and another 43 percent have plans for “slightly” more tech hiring over that same time frame.

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