Unemployment is always a huge problem in the United States, as we pride ourselves on having an abundance of natural resources and the ability to bounce back no matter what storm rocks our shores. But when something like unemployment is present, it can be taken as a sign that some of our citizens don’t have the same opportunities as others, whether it’s by choice or by accident. Currently, our unemployment rate is hovering around 6-ish percent, which isn’t great but not terrible, either. That figure isn’t the same across the board in all industries and sectors, with some suffering more than others. In what may be a surprise for some and not so much for others, the tech industry has very healthily managed to avoid coming anywhere close to the national unemployment average.
Breezing Through the Recession
Dice.com, a site focused on everything that has to do with the tech world, recently crunched some numbers released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and found a couple of surprising points. The New York-based staffing firm, understandably having a vested interest in job numbers in the tech industry, found that theirs was one of the most positive areas to work in out of any. They’ve discovered that this little thing called the Great Recession didn’t really apply to them, as their unemployment rate hasn’t cracked more than 3.6 percent. For reference, the all-time low for unemployment was way back in May of 1953, when the figure was a very admirable 2.50 percent; the all-time high was 10.8 percent in November of 1982.
The tech industry’s great news isn’t entirely free of blemishes, although they’re really very minor when compared to the picture of unemployment as a whole. Their lowest rate of unemployment came in the first quarter of this year, when it very nearly matched the all-time low in 1953. They recorded an unemployment rate of just 2.7 percent, which simply adds to the amazing strength they’ve maintained. Currently, in the second quarter of 2014, the tech industry’s unemployment rate is a mere 3 percent, which, when compared to last year’s second quarter unemployment rate of 3.6 percent, shows they’ve definitely got the right pieces in place.
Within the tech industry, there’s one figure that really stands out as the hottest industry to work in right now: network architects and web developers. In those subsections, the unemployment rate is about 1 percent, which is almost unheard of anywhere, especially in light of our country still righting itself after the recession.
Why is the Tech Industry Doing So Well?
During the ‘50s and ‘60s, our economy was primarily based in manufacturing, as evidenced by the boom in our auto industry. We were among the best in the world at making and exporting goods, and the economy was incredibly good.
However, that bubble of contentment couldn’t — and wouldn’t — last, and it wasn’t long before Asian countries started quickly overtaking us in manufacturing. There are many reasons for why the auto industry crashed so spectacularly, but the rise of cheap Asian labor is a big, big reason for the fall of our manufacturing industry. It’s incredibly difficult to compete with countries that pay their workers far less than we do, as the costs have to be covered somehow.
The next logical step in sustaining a healthy economy, if we couldn’t do it with manufacturing, was to focus on service and “thinking” jobs. This is where the tech industry has stepped in so successfully, capitalizing on what the future of this country’s economy will be. We see it with Silicon Valley, where the nation’s best and brightest minds have congregated to provide products for the world. These products aren’t manufactured the way they were in the past, but rather have taken the form of apps, systems software, and telecommunications technology.
How the Tech Industry Unemployment Numbers Break Down
As we mentioned before, not every subsection in the tech industry shares equal unemployment rates, as the highs and lows combine together to form a tidy 3 percent. Here’s how the figures add up.
Programmers: 6.3 percent
Computer support specialists: 5.7 percent
Computer systems analysts:3.7 percent
Computer and information systems engineers:3.5 percent
Network and system administrators: 3.1 percent
Database administrators: 2.8 percent
Software developers: 2.2 percent
Network architects: 1.7 percent
Web developers: 1 percent
image credit: Endgaget