RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – While the release of last month’s jobs numbers saw better-than-expected gains across the U.S. economy, there are still signs that tech sector job growth may be slowing, despite adding about 10,000 jobs in September.

That’s according to the latest CompTIA Tech Jobs Report, which analyzed Lightcast data and found that tech sector job openings fell nationwide in September.

And one month after North Carolina led the nation in new tech sector job postings, North Carolina tech job openings dropped significantly, falling from 14,699 job openings in August to 11,462 postings in September. That’s a drop of 3,237 postings, or slightly more than 22%.

Still, North Carolina – the nation’s ninth largest state in terms of population – saw the 7th most tech job postings.

Nationally, the drop in tech job openings was 12% between August and September, said Steven Ostrowski, a spokesperson for CompTIA, the producer of the monthly report.

“We always caution that the monthly data tends to experience higher levels of variance and volatility and may be subject to backward revisions,” Ostrowski told WRAL TechWire.

The NC TECH Association also has reported drops in tech openings for three consecutive months through August. September data will be released in the near future.

Yet these 40 firms are looking to fill 4,000 jobs in the Triangle.

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What’s happening

Across North Carolina, the tech sector is now experiencing fewer job postings, said Jessica Mitsch Homes, the co-founder and CEO of Momentum Learning in an interview with WRAL TechWire on Monday.

“A lot of larger tech companies have begun hiring freezes,” said Mitsch Homes.  “These hiring freezes are impacting the industry as a whole, however, the North Carolina market remains strong.”

In Raleigh, for example, though tech roles have slowed even faster than statewide in September, dropping by 24.4% according to data used in compiling the CompTIA report that was shared with WRAL TechWire by Ostrowski, there were still 2,907 tech sector openings in the metropolitan statistical area last month.  And that’s just in Raleigh, as the Durham-Chapel Hill metropolitan statistical area is separate.

Even that drop – from 3,848 open tech jobs to 2,907 – can be seen in context.  For Raleigh, August had the highest total tech sector openings of any month this year, by 8.8% ahead of the month with the second most openings, March 2022.

"The drop in job postings in September could easily be attributed to companies budgeting for next year," said Mitsch Homes.  "A lot of planned hiring for the year has already happened."

And even if companies are slowing hiring, there is a continued demand for tech talent in the Triangle and across North Carolina, said Mitsch Homes, particularly in software engineering.  There are also many open roles in cybersecurity across the state, WRAL TechWire reported on Monday.

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Companies also face this challenge

"We also continue to see companies dealing with retention issues and needing to be ready to backfill roles that open due to voluntary exits," said Mitsch Homes.

One source who preferred to remain anonymous told WRAL TechWire that there's been a significant number of colleagues who have left tech roles at one Triangle-based employer to take open positions at Google, for instance, and both companies remain hiring for dozens and dozens of technical roles, as of Monday afternoon.

"Over the long-run, the tech sector will certainly expand, including adding more jobs," said Dr. Michael Walden, a William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor Emeritus at North Carolina State University and a regular contributor to WRAL TechWire.  "Indeed, the post-pandemic economy will increasingly be driven by technology, including new ways of personal interacting, tele-medicine, and education.  But the near-term is more uncertain, as all businesses are trying to decide if the Federal Reserve’s moves will indeed result in a real recession."

A recession could bring job cuts to the economy, as well, with jobs shedding from the U.S. economy.  Or at least, that's what an analysis from Bank of America published on Monday warns.  Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan Chase, who recently visited the Triangle, also warned on Monday that a recession may be coming.

It's possibly that uncertainty, too, that is impacting tech sector openings in Raleigh, which have now fallen to a low point for 2022, according to the CompTIA data.  But, of course, not all jobs in the region are tech jobs.

In fact, the latest WRAL TechWire Jobs Report found that job openings increased week-over-week.  Here's the latest.

These 40 Triangle companies are looking to fill 4,000 jobs – here’s where to find work