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Tech services jobs increase

New Labor Department report shows continued growth in computer-related services jobs, while tech manufacturing positions fell.

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The U.S. economy added nearly 7,000 new jobs in the field of computer systems design and related services in September, a sign of continued momentum in the technology services field.

But the manufacturing wing of the technology industry lost jobs in September, which demonstrated weak job growth of 96,000 new payroll positions for the country overall.

On Friday, the Labor Department said the number of payroll jobs in computer systems design and related services increased by 6,900, from August to September, to 1.14 million. Employment in computer systems design and related services has been growing since April and is up by 32,700 from September 2003. Another technology-related services category added jobs in September as well: Management and technical consulting services employment rose by 1,600 to 796,500, the Labor Department said. Employment in this sector has been rising since June 2003, when it was at 741,600.

The job growth comes as technology services companies have been thriving and hiring. Help-wanted ads in that corner of the tech industry are welcome developments to tech workers, who weathered massive job cuts earlier this decade and face the threat of offshoring--the transfer of high-skilled jobs to lower-wage nations such as India.

A monthly survey showed increasing optimism among IT workers for several months, but that measure dipped in September.

Workers in the computer and electronic products manufacturing sector may be feeling a bit bluer, after the number of payroll jobs in the field slipped 1,700, from August to September, to 1.35 million. Employment in computer and electronic products manufacturing had been on the rise since December.

For the U.S. economy overall, roughly 150,000 new payroll jobs per month are considered necessary just to keep up with the growth of the labor force. The Labor Department said the unemployment rate remained 5.4 percent in September.

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