The U.S. economy generated 1,900 manufacturing jobs in computer and electronic products last month, reaching a total of 1.34 million in that category, the U.S. Labor Department reported Friday. In addition, 1,000 jobs were added in the area of computer systems design and related services, to 1.19 million. Each of these categories gained at least 1,700 jobs in July as well.
Overall, the U.S. economy added a lower-than-expected 169,000 nonfarm payroll jobs in August, to 134 million. The unemployment rate fell slightly to 4.9 percent.
The Labor Department report came on the heels of a survey from staffing firm Hudson which found that tech worker confidence in the job market dropped sharply in August, thanks partly to job-loss fears.
Signals have been mixed about the job scene for tech pros for some time. A survey released Thursday by a labor organization indicated that tech workers in America are feeling less hopeful about the future of their profession than they were two years ago. In addition, tech-sector downsizing for the first half of 2005 far exceeded industry job cuts during the first half of last year. And the average number of unemployed workers in nine high-tech categories fell by 64,000 last year but remained close to 150,000, according to the Labor Department.
Programmers and other tech professionals also have to worry about their jobs being displaced due to offshoring.
On the other hand, some argue that global free trade in software and tech services will generate greater demand for workers with IT skills and proficiency in the U.S.
What's more, a study released earlier this year indicated that the U.S. tech industry may have turned a corner last year when it comes to employment woes. And the parent company of job board Monster reported an uptick from July to August in its measurement of employer online recruitment activity for computer and mathematical jobs.
Not all tech-related industries gained jobs in August, according to the Labor Department. The telecommunications sector lost 1,800 jobs, to 1.03 million.