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Tech jobs increase in June

U.S. adds hardware and tech services jobs, as overall job growth is smaller than expected.

In a hopeful sign for technology workers, the U.S. economy added thousands of hardware and tech services jobs in June.

In its monthly employment report, the U.S. Department of Labor on Friday said payroll employment in computer and electronic products manufacturing rose by 7,400 in June to 1.34 million. The field of computer systems design and related services added 5,200 payroll jobs, to a total of 1.18 million.

Overall, the U.S. economy added a lower-than-expected 146,000 nonfarm payroll jobs in June to reach 133.5 million. The official unemployment rate slipped from 5.1 percent in May to 5 percent in June.

"We have seen modest but increased hiring in the technology sector. This is a continuation of steady growth which started at the beginning of this year," Dion DeLoof, president of information technology staffing company Anteo Group, said in a statement. "Overall, the outlook in the technology hiring space is still positive, with no large increases in hiring predicted but a continuation of hiring increases."

The Labor Department report adds to a mixed picture of the job scene for technology professionals. Techies' optimism about the job market improved in June from a low point in May, according to a study released on Wednesday. From the beginning of the year to June 1, job postings on tech-focused rose 26 percent to 69,957, with strong gains in eastern cities. And a study released earlier this year indicated that the U.S. tech industry may have turned a corner last year when it comes to employment woes.

On the other hand, computer professionals face the threat of increased automation and the prospect of their jobs being shifted offshore. The average number of unemployed workers in nine high-tech categories fell by 64,000 last year but remained close to 150,000, according to the Labor Department. And in the first three months of this year, technology companies slashed nearly 60,000 U.S. jobs--twice the number trimmed in the same period last year.

According to the new Labor Department report, payroll jobs fell by 300 in June in the category of Internet service providers, search portals and data processing, to 395,900.