Hiring in the technology sector remains sluggish

The news isn’t very good on the job front, and even the tech sector is struggling to add jobs.

Government labor reports released this year, including the most recent one, present a tableau of shrinking opportunities in high-skill fields.

Job growth in fields like computer systems design and Internet publishing has been slow in the last year. Employment in areas like data processing and software publishing has actually fallen. Additionally, computer scientists, systems analysts and computer programmers all had unemployment rates of around 6 percent in the second quarter of this year.

While that might sound like a blessing compared with the rampant joblessness in manufacturing, it is still significantly higher than the unemployment rates in other white-collar professions.

The chief hurdles to more robust technology hiring appear to be increasing automation and the addition of highly skilled labor overseas. The result is a mismatch of skill levels here at home: not enough workers with the cutting-edge skills coveted by tech firms, and too many people with abilities that can be duplicated offshore at lower cost.

That’s a familiar situation to many out-of-work software engineers, whose skills start depreciating almost as soon as they are laid off, given the dynamism of the industry.

Technology firms are sitting on a mountain of cash, so hopefully this will be temporary. President Obama is now proposing huge tax breaks for investments in equipment, along with making the research tax credit permanent. If the GOP can put aside politics and pass these proposals that they have supported in the past, perhaps we can jump start this sector and other sectors.


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