Special Feature
Part of a ZDNet Special Feature: Coronavirus: Business and technology in a pandemic

Approximately 117,000 IT jobs lost since March, US data shows

The latest government employment data sheds light on the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the IT job market.

Approximately 117,000 IT professionals in the US have lost their jobs since March, the latest government employment data shows, reflecting the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the sector. 

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, total nonfarm payroll employment actually rose by 2.5 million in May, and the unemployment rate declined 1.4 percentage points to 13.3 percent. Employment in May rose sharply in a few key sectors as economic activity resumed to a limited degree. However, while some sectors saw job gains from April to May, IT jobs steadily declined from March through April and May. 

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As noted by the consulting firm Janco, the BLS provides data for some specific segments of the IT job market: telecommunications; data processing, hosting and related services; computer systems design and related services; and other information services. In March, those four segments of the market accounted for 3.655 million US jobs. Jobs across all four segments fell in April, and they fell again in May, accounting for 3.538 million jobs. 

Given the current economic and social uncertainty across the US, Janco said it's adjusted its forecast for the IT job market in 2020. It now predicts there will be just over 35,000 net new IT jobs created this year. 

"Many of the CIOs and CFOs interviewed by Janco in the past few weeks feel that with the existing pace of reopening of the US, civil unrest, and the election, normal IT hiring will not resume until late in the fourth quarter of this year," the firm said in a release. "However, IT Pros job losses, for the most part, are over."

IT professionals should benefit from the fact that most will be capable of working remotely, according to Janco. More than 85 percent of organizations reviewed by the consulting firm are capable of letting IT staff work from home. 

The original version of this story incorrectly stated the number of jobs lost. The article has been corrected to reflect the figure is approximately 117,000.