Has the shine worn off the demand for data professionals in the job market?

Perhaps a bit, according to a recent report from Foote Partners, which tracks trends around hiring, pay and certifications in the tech job market. At the midpoint of 2016, new job creation in data management has been a roller coaster ride at best over the first few months.

Citing 2016 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Foote Partners notes that “this segment has averaged a gain of only 100 jobs per month so far this year, a reversal of the 1,275 jobs added per month in 2015.”

With the Bureau’s June jobs forecast only days away, Foote Partners pointed to the volatile swings in hiring for data professionals from January through May. These included a decline of 100 data jobs in January; a gain of 900 new data jobs in February; a gain of 200 new data jobs in March; a decline of 600 data jobs in April, and a gain of 100 new data jobs in May.

This up-and-down hiring trend is not unique among data jobs, notes David Foote, CEO and chief research officer at Foote Partners.

“Clearly, the relatively poor performance in tech job creation was reflected in these Department of Labor reports beginning last November and carrying to March, unexpectedly reversed in April, followed by only minimal improvement in May,” Foote said. “As tech labor analysts, we like to see a minimum of three solid months of consistent job gains before we start searching for additional evidence to support any sustained improvement in the tech employment market.”

“Given the general volatility that has existed in tech employment over the past several years, the large April job gain did not fuel any optimism among our analysts,” Foote stressed.

Most worrisome, Foote said, is that “the problem now is that while volatility subsided somewhat in the first quarter of 2016, the level of IT jobs added to U.S. payrolls has more or less flat-lined at a much lower level of growth. That fact should be a concern to IT professionals.”

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