The U.S. tech industry is hiring at a faster pace than a year ago, driven by growth in information technology services. The news isn't all good, however -- the sector is hiring at half the rate of U.S. employers overall.
A midyear analysis of employment shows the tech industry employed 6.3 million workers as of June 2014, TechAmerica Foundation revealed in its Competitiveness Series analysis.
The industry grew by nearly 119,000 jobs in the first six months of 2014, a 1.9 percent increase over the same period a year ago. Although the sector's growth rate ticked up, it was still slower than the 3.7 percent growth for the whole private sector. That may be fodder for lawmakers who want to rein in the H-1B visa program, which lets foreign tech workers into the country for up to six years.
From January 2013 to June 2014, the private sector as a whole grew at a 5.9 percent rate, whereas the tech sector grew 3.8 percent during the same 18 month period.
“The tech sector has been increasing hiring, which is a good sign. But that doesn’t mean it won’t go through a soft patch period,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital. “It doesn’t change the overall period of improving growth within the U.S. economy.”
On the bright side, all sectors within tech reported job growth during the first six months of 2014. Research and development, testing and engineering services added a total of 54,100 positions, while IT services led the pack with 36,000 jobs.
The foundation uses data compiled from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics from January 2013 to June 2014. TechAmerica then examined national tech employment trends over the last 18 months in five sectors, technology manufacturing, telecommunications, software publishing, IT services and R&D, testing and engineering services.