IT services added an estimated 79,300 jobs in 2016, making it the primary driver of job growth in the IT sector, according to the CompTIA IT Employment Tracker.
About 5,100 new IT positions were added in December alone, according to CompTIA. In the fourth quarter of 2016, a net 337,000 IT jobs were added to the economy.
Approximately 4,100 of the new December jobs were in software and technology services. Other information services, including search portals, expanded by 2,400 positions in December, while data processing, hosting and related services added 1,600 jobs. The few declines occurred in telecommunications, which lost 24,100 positions in 2016, and computer and electronics products manufacturing, which declined by 900 jobs in December.
Demand for tech workers continues to grow. The U.S. Labor Department estimates there are half a million open tech jobs in the U.S., and IBM CEO Ginni Rometty recently said her company plans to hire 25,000 professionals in the next five years.
Indeed, the primary IT layoffs that occurred in 2016 happened at companies that were looking to shift their IT strategies, rather than reduce their investments in IT. Companies increasingly indicate that technology is the key to their ability to innovate and compete. Now, more emphasis is being placed on the services sector as companies look to bring in professionals to help with implementations rather than using full-time hires.