Thursday, January 26, 2006

Overall IT unemployment trending downward; Slow growth in Programmer jobs

There is good news and bad news for IT professionals. The good news is that unemployment in the occupation is trending downward after a chaotic three years between 2002 and 2005. The bad news is that while lobbyists such as Harris Miller claim a worker shortage of programmers, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) begs to differ in their 2006 occupational outlook guide.

According to the BLS "Employment of programmers is expected to grow more slowly than the average for all occupations through the year 2014. (...) Another factor limiting growth in employment is the outsourcing of these jobs to other countries. Computer programmers can perform their job function from anywhere in the world and can digitally transmit their programs to any location via e-mail".

It is naieve to believe that only programming jobs are at risk of offshoring. As reported in prior blogs and other publications, higher level functions are now being completed offshore. So while countries like India have rational trade policies protecting their lucrative software industry, the United States is allowing jobs of all kinds and throughout the value chain to vanish. We have a trade policy that is both weak and not enforced.

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