WASHINGTON - In an otherwise feeble labor market information technology job growth is solid and should remain so, according to a report released today by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.
Coming a day before the government releases data expected to show lackluster overall job growth, the report stresses that IT's potential depends in part on policymakers committing to enhancing education and training and aggressively adopting IT in transportation, health care, and other areas.
The report, Looking for Jobs? Look to IT in 2012 and Beyond, dispels the notion that the best days for IT jobs have passed with the bursting of the dot-com bubble in 2000 and the practice of off-shoring today. From 2001 to 2011, a decade characterized by recessions and jobless recoveries, over 742,000 new IT jobs were created. IT employment grew more than 125 times faster than employment as a whole, which grew by only 0.2 percent. In addition, despite the shift of some IT jobs overseas during this period, over 300,000 jobs were created, many of them higher-paying than those lost.
"IT job growth continues to be a bright spot in an otherwise dark employment landscape," said ITIF President Rob Atkinson. "IT jobs can also be thought of as the light at the end of the tunnel. With advances in technology, a constant flow of new devices, and the untapped potential for smart grids and intelligent transportation systems, the prospects for high-quality job creation is very encouraging."
According to the report:
- With the growth in high-paying IT jobs, U.S. GDP was over $104 billion larger in 2011 than it was in 2001.Between May 2007 and May 2011, the number of IT jobs grew by 6.8 percent while the overall number of U.S. jobs shrank by -4.5 percent. In 2011, IT workers earned $78,584 a year, 74 percent more than the average worker.
- Jobs for software developers, which paid 26 percent more than those for computer programmers, grew by over 300,000 during the 2000s, more than offsetting the loss of 120,000 jobs that were outsourced.
- Of Inc. Magazine's 2011 list of the 5,000 fastest growing companies in the United States, over 1,140 are in the IT industry. With the continued expansion of broadband, and the growth of e-commerce and e-government, the importance of IT jobs to the U.S. economy is certain to grow, the report predicts.
- However, reaching the vast potential in IT jobs will require overhauling and expanding computer science education, particularly at the high school level, to enhance Americans' IT skills. In addition, the report urges federal, state and local governments to step up investments in health IT, smart grid technology, mobile commerce, intelligent transportation systems, and smart IDs to unleash the full potential of IT job growth.
"Beyond the good news for current and future job growth the data shows, it is clear that more enthusiastic adoption of IT will allow us to tackle challenges that come with a growing population and improve the quality of life for all," said ITIF Economic Analyst Luke Stewart, who co-authored the report with Atkinson.
The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) is a Washington, D.C.-based think tank at the cutting edge of designing innovation strategies and technology policies to create economic opportunities and improve quality of life in the United States and around the world. Founded in 2006, ITIF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, non-partisan organization that documents the beneficial role technology plays in our lives and provides fact-based analysis and pragmatic ideas for improving technology-driven productivity, boosting competitiveness, and meeting today's global challenges through innovation. For additional information, visit ITIF at www.itif.org or contact Steve Norton at (202) 626-5758 or firstname.lastname@example.org.