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Rise of tech job posts could bode well

Career site sees increase in job postings in New York and Washington, D.C.--but not all is rosy for tecchies.

In a potentially hopeful sign for programmers and engineers, job postings at well-known tech job site rose 22 percent in the first three months of the year--to 68,355.

"Much of this growth can be attributed to the gains made in the New York and Washington, D.C., metropolitan areas, which in (March) alone increased 9.5 percent and 7.4 percent, respectively," according to a statement on Friday from Dice, the owner of claims to be the No. 1 technology-focused job board as ranked by Media Metrix.

As of April 1, there were 7,611 jobs posted on the site for the Washington, D.C., making it the top technology metropolitan area, Dice said. The New York-New Jersey region ranked second with 7,464 jobs, and the Silicon Valley area came in third with 5,947.

The Dice report adds to a jumbled mix of data on the job scene for technology professionals. On the hopeful side of the equation, a Hudson survey showed that information technology workers' confidence in the employment market rose in March. In addition, the average number of unemployed workers in nine high-tech categories--including computer programmers, database administrators and computer hardware engineers--fell from 210,000 in 2003 to 146,000 in 2004, according to the Labor Department data.

On the gloomier side, technology companies are slashing jobs at a rapid pace. In addition, tech professionals face the possibility of their jobs being sent to lower-wage nations such as India or China. The automation of technology tasks is also a threat.

There are a number of caveats to the numbers. A single job posting may reflect more than one skill, location and type of position--permanent vs. contract. In addition, there are cases when the same job is posted twice: once by the hiring company and once by a recruiting firm retained by the company. But such double postings make up a small fraction of the total number of postings on the site, a Dice representative said.