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Despite layoffs, hiring still 'red hot'

The hiring spree isn't slowing down, according to data from a new U.S. jobs report. Many employers expect to add workers through the year.

Recent layoffs at Oracle and other big companies may have created worry about the state of the economy. But the U.S. Labor Department's July jobs report, released Friday, clarifies that employers are still hiring, especially in tech.

The government jobs report stated payroll headcount increased by 528,000 in July, and the unemployment rate fell to 3.5%. 

The job market "is still very hot," said Josh Drew, Boston regional director for Robert Half Technology and The Creative Group. "Even if it slowed down from where it was, which was glowing white hot, it could still be red hot," he said. 

A July survey of 15,000 managers by consulting and staffing firm Robert Half reported that 46% of respondents planned to add new positions across all sectors in the second half of this year, and only 2% intended to eliminate jobs. 

Hiring is happening even as some firms trim payrolls, such as Oracle and Shopify.

The Robert Half survey also indicated that 88% of managers were challenged to find people for skilled positions. 

"There's still going to be a lot of competition for a limited number of candidates," Drew said. 

How many employers plan to hire through 2022
Many employers plan to hire through 2022.

In technology employment, Computer Economics found in a recent survey that 60% of firms are seeking to add jobs this year, the largest increase it has seen in a decade, said David Wagner, senior research director at the research and consulting firm. 

Digital transformation efforts are driving tech hiring, Wagner said. "Pandemic lockdowns emphasized the need for digital business plans and accelerated the use of a lot of digital technology," he said. He added that most of the hiring will be for developers, analysts and data scientists.

In the past, IT was a cost center, a place to cut in lean times, Wagner said. But today, "IT is part of the solution to weathering a recession," he said.

CompTIA, an industry group, said that of the 528,000 new jobs across all industry sectors, 12,700 were at technology firms. Technology industry employment has increased by nearly 144,000 jobs this year, a 55% year-over-year increase.

Employer job postings for technology positions neared 484,000 in July, according to CompTIA on Friday, a slight decrease from the prior month. 

"The data confirms that for every layoff announcement, there are other employers stepping in to take advantage of tech talent hiring opportunities," said Tim Herbert, chief research officer at CompTIA, in a statement.

Patrick Thibodeau covers HCM and ERP technologies for TechTarget. He's worked for more than two decades as an enterprise IT reporter.

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