As the 2016 presidential election preliminaries heat up, there's been a fair amount of discussion over the continuing prospects for economic recovery and job growth in the United States. Whether you take a glass-half-empty or glass-half-full perspective on the current state of affairs probably depends in part on your political leanings, but most people would likely agree that the national employment picture in 2015 isn't as grim as it seemed in 2008 and 2009.
Earlier today, some hard data emerged to support that perception. IT industry association CompTIA, which studies all aspects of IT in the United States in addition to curating a large body of popular IT certifications, says that increased IT hiring resulted in a gain of 70,500 new jobs over the first six months of 2015. According to CompTIA's analysis of employment reports, the IT industry has now added new jobs in 14 of the 18 months from January 2014 to June 2015.
The good news was announced in CompTIA's IT Employment Midyear Update, a biannual report available free of charge to anyone who completes a free registration process to become a CompTIA registered user.
The IT employment picture also shows strong job retention, despite a slight rise in IT unemployment to 3.4 percent in July. The 3.4 percent figure is still much stronger than the overall U.S. unemployment rate of 5.3 percent, and total employment of IT workers across all tech disciplines is at nearly 5 million individuals.
Of the 70,500 jobs to be added in 2015, the strongest gains were made in the IT services and software sectors. IT services employment increased 2.4 percent, while software employment rose 1.5 percent. Others notable gains occurred in the tech manufacturing and �telecommunications/internet services sectors, both of which rose by slightly less than 1 percent.
CompTIA executive Tim Herbert said in a statement to media that the continued acceleration of new tech trends and the explosion in tech-enabled personal devices has kept job growth on pace. "The data confirms the breadth and demand for technology expertise," Herbert said. "Beyond traditional employers of IT workers, sectors such as healthcare, defense, retail and finance are now represented among the top 20 of companies with hiring intent."
Along with the release of IT Employment Midyear Update, CompTIA has literally mapped the current state of IT employment in the United States using a series of U.S. maps to depict various findings. Want to see the top IT jobs for each state?�Two professions dominate the national IT landscape, with 17 states apiece where the highest concentration of IT employees are either software application developers (including in California, New York, Washington, Utah, Colorado, New Jersey, Illinois and North Carolina), or user support specialists (including in Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, Oregon, New Mexico, South Carolina, Maine and Missouri).