Labor Day, but is there any labor to come by?

The Labor Department tells us the job market remains flat, but what’s it look like in your data center?

Yep, Labor Day is upon us. That beloved national holiday marking the end of Summer was first celebrated in September 1882 as thousands of workers marched in New York City calling for eight hours of labor, eight hours of recreation and eight hours of rest. In 1894, Congress made it a legal holiday.

Unfortunately, the labor report leading into this holiday doesn’t inspire much of a holiday mood. The U.S. Labor Department reported today that employers in August added no jobs, and unemployment remained at 9.1 percent. In a news release, the Labor Department noted that while the private sector added 17,000 jobs in August, those gains were offset by the loss of 17,000 government jobs.

I’m pretty sure people aren’t surprised by the bum news. After all, August kicked off with intense bickering about the debt ceiling and the United States credit rating was downgraded by Standard & Poor. Consumer confidence is down, the stock market is a roller coaster. But what does this labor standstill tell us about the IT sector? How’s the employment market for data center operators faring?

I tried to tease out some meaningful numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to the latest stats, employees on payroll in the information sector working in data processing, hosting and related services has remained steady throughout the year, with only a slight dip since a year ago.

In the professional and business services sector (and more specifically the professional and technical services sector within that), there have actually been some gains since in the last year. In August 2010, the department reported about 7,430,100 employees on payroll and by this August there were about 7,657,000. There was also an uptick in the computer systems design and related services sector (also within the professional business and services sector): 1,446,000 in August 2010 versus about 1,518,000 last month. And within the management and technical consulting services (again, same sector) there were gains: 990,000 uin a year ago compared to about 1,051,000 this August.

According to a new report from Simply Hired – “U.S. Employment Outlook, September 2011” – the technology industry is worse off than it was last year. The number of job openings in the tech sector dropped by about 25% in August, compared to August 2010. The report is part of Simply Hired’s monthly analysis and forecast of employment trends in the United States, and the findings are based on monthly job seeker activity on, which aggregates millions of listings from over 30,000 employment sites, and data obtained from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

I’m interested in your thoughts? Do you think the IT sector is improving? Are jobs within the data center market aplenty? Or is there little to celebrate this Labor Day? Are there too little labor hours to go around?

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