US unemployment rate is 5.6%

The nation’s unemployment rate dropped to 5.6% in January to the lowest level in more than two years as companies added just 112,000 new jobs – fewer than expected but enough to keep alive hope for a turnaround in the struggling job market. The jobless rate fell 0.1% last month to the lowest level since October 2001, when it was 5.4%, the Labor Department said Friday. January’s rate matched the 5.6% posted in January 2002. Employers added new jobs last month at a pace not seen in three years. The last time payrolls expanded more than 112,000 was in December 2000, when companies added 124,000 positions.

IT salaries up 2% in 2003, average IT salary is $69.4K

After seeing average paychecks shrink in 2002, salaries for IT professionals inched up in 2003, according to a new report by Dice Inc., which surveyed 21,000 visitors to its online job recruitment site from January to December 2003. The average IT salary in 2003 reached $69,400, up about 2% from $67,900 in 2002. This boost is a reversal compared with the previous year, when Dice’s survey reported that average pay for IT pros fell in 2002 by about $500, to $67,900, from $68,400 in 2001. Looking ahead, Dice president and CEO Scot Melland says 72% of Dice’s employer clients plan to increase hiring during the first six months of this year. That’s almost a complete reversal from the 70% in 2002 who said they’d be hiring less in 2003.

Forrester: 26% of IT jobs gone by 2015

Another estimate by Forester Research goes into more specifics. Forrester estimates that by 2015, some 3.3 million service-sector jobs will be shipped overseas or rendered obsolete by technology. Forester analyst John McCarthy says jobs that are most at risk require fewer skills, are automated or are highly portable. Those include computer programming and software engineer jobs, that have long been leaving the country. By 2015, 26% of those jobs will be gone, says McCarthy. IT Facts - data and research from the information technology world