A radio talk show host on one of the sports networks ends his program with something like “Ain’t that the stinking truth.” 

Well, the stinking truth about the latest high-tech jobs opening report in North Carolina is this:

The news is awful.

The daily average of advertised information technology job openings across the state fell in December to a meager 3,360, according to new data from the North Carolina Technology Association’s monthly “IT Job Trends” report with data provided by talent management firm SkillProof.

That’s some 800 fewer than a year ago and 550 fewer than in 2010!

The openings were 5.4 percent fewer than November’s miserable total.

A look back at previous December numbers show just how stagnate the IT job market really is:

  • Dec. 2006: 4,410 openings
  • Dec. 2007: 3,910 openings
  • Dec. 2008, as the recession takes hold: Some 1,500
  • Dec. 2009, as recession continues: 1,580

Then can the rebound with job openings as noted early hitting nearly 6,000 at one point last year.

But now …

So what economic recovery is anyone talking about?

North Carolina’s unemployment rate remains one of the highest in the nation, and if the tech sector is going to lead a revival of the economy it is NOT showing up in hiring. (By the way, don’t be fooled like so many people are about those declining overall unemployment numbers. If you dig into the data deep enough you will find the numbers would be much worse if so many people had simply given up looking for work and have dropped out of the labor force. They are no longer counted.)

That’s the stinking truth, folks.

Down, Down, Down …

IT job openings have fallen for five consecutive months and have plummeted since reaching nearly 6,000 in April.

Executives involved in the report tried to put a positive spin on it – which is expected. Who wants to read bad news?

“Although job openings dipped in December, there are two reasons for optimism in the near term,” Brooks Raiford, NCTA’s chief executive officer, said. “There have been several rankings recently identifying North Carolina as having strong trends in tech talent and jobs, and each of the last two Decembers have been followed by an up-tick in tech hiring in the state.”

Forbes and others continue to like North Carolina, especially the high-tech Triangle. 

But if you are looking for work, the positive spin doesn’t mean much.

Hype excites.

Reality bites.

“The drop in IT labor demand is mostly seasonal as employers remove job postings for unfilled positions before starting into the new business cycle,” SkillProof and NCTA say in the report. ”Nevertheless, this year’s labor demand in the state was on average 500 job postings per month higher than in 2011. The strong demand earlier this year was enough to generate the better result. If the IT job market swings upward during the first quarter of 2013 it will be proof that employers remain optimistic despite the drop during the past six

What optimism? Some tech firms in the Triangle are growing fast, but …

Inside the Numbers

Let’s look at some of the numbers with the Dec. 2012 openings listed first and Dec. 2011 second:

  • Systems Eng./Support: 1000; 1280
  • IT Architects/Consultants: 590; 670
  • Software Development:  510; 740
  • IT Management:  480; 630
  • IT Sales and Marketing:  200; 380
  • Systems Administration:  200; 150
  • Hardware Engineering:  200; 150
  • Business/Process Design:  70; 80
  • Training/Tech Writing:  50; 40
  • Misc.IT Job Categories:  60; 60

It’s often said sales and marketing hiring is the “canary in the coal mine” for hiring.

If that’s true, the IT sector may be in for some tough times ahead.

As for the silver lining in this report, The Skinny just doesn’t see one.

And that’s the stinking truth!