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Study: IT workers more optimistic

IT workers' confidence in the employment market kept growing in July, but techies are less happy with actual jobs than workers overall.

Information technology workers in the United States are lifting their chins.

At least that's the conclusion of a recent study by staffing company Hudson, which found that IT workers had greater confidence in the employment market last month than they did in June. In addition, IT workers' optimism remained higher than that of U.S. workers overall, according to the study.

The Hudson "employment index" for IT workers rose to 112.1 in July, up 4 points from June and 11 points from May. Hudson's national index for July hit 108.4, up from 107.9 in June. The study, released earlier this month, involves surveying about 9,000 U.S. workers in industries including IT, health care and manufacturing.

The report isn't the only sign of better times for IT workers, who have weathered the dot-com collapse and faced job losses related to so-called offshoring. According to the Labor Department, the unemployment rate for computer-related occupations--which includes computer programmers and computer system analysts and scientists--dropped to 4.5 percent in the second quarter of this year from 5.4 percent in the second quarter of 2003.

On the other hand, the unemployment rate for that category was far lower in the 1990s, and stayed below 2 percent from 1994 to 2000.

Another study earlier this year found low morale among IT workers to be widespread. Among more than 650 companies surveyed by research firm Meta Group, more than 72 percent indicated that low IT employee morale is currently a serious issue in their organizations.

Although Hudson's new study found IT workers generally more confident in the employment market than workers overall, the survey found IT workers to be less happy with their jobs. When asked, "generally speaking, are you happy with your current job," 70 percent of workers overall said yes compared with 67.7 percent of IT workers.

And those in the tech field seem more nervous about getting axed. Asked "are you worried about losing your job anytime soon," 26.1 percent of IT workers said yes compared with 18.4 percent of workers overall.