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The tech pullback may already be done

Layoffs have been prominent, but they have only brought tech employment back to last year’s totals. If you have hiring to do, get to work.

Baltimore tech job openings, 2022 vs. 2023. (Technical.ly graphic)

This piece first appeared in Technically Media CEO Chris Wink’s Builders newsletter. It features tips on growing powerful teams and dynamic workplaces. Sign up to get more pieces like this in your inbox before they appear on our site.

Tech openings plummeted in Baltimore after July 4. That might be good.

Baltimore area tech firms had more than 8,000 job openings on July 5, according to Technical.ly’s Tech Economy Dashboard, which aggregates listings from a range of sources. Seven days later there were barely 6,000 — a 25% decline in a week. Other regions saw declines around that time, too.

Tech openings slowed just as the tech layoffs began last spring — the long-anticipated cooling after two years of bananas (but precedented) growth. Despite the slowdown, as Technical.ly first reported in April, firms hiring tech talent still haven’t necessarily found the task easier. Though employers say it’s certainly less competitive than the frenzied days of early 2022, little has changed over the summer. Gloomy as that may sound, consider an optimistic take: Job openings have reduced as a too-hot economy slows, without overall tech employment shrinking beyond a modest over-reaction.

Line graph showing tech employment is still above pre-pandemic trend despite layoffs

Look at the latest tech employment figures. Despite another month of decline, roughly 3,074,000 people held tech jobs in the US economy in July, according to fresh projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (which can still be corrected later). That’s 55,000 fewer than the peak last November, but is still more than last May and well above the pre-pandemic trend-line. Most tech teams have reduced their openings, rather than make further reductions in force.

Worries for an autumnal pullback remain, but they look more relevant for macroeconomic policy-makers than hiring managers.

For those building tech teams, we may have already finished the tech pullback. Our Tech Economy Dashboard shows roughly half of the 20 firms with the most tech job openings in each of our markets — Baltimore, DC, Delaware, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh — have more openings than they did a month ago. Denver and Atlanta, too. In Baltimore, two-thirds of the companies with the most tech openings in the region increased their total in the last 30 days.

What’s the upshot? We’ve spent 18 months predicting a recession that never came. One eventually will — they always do — but if you’re building something, then get to work.

Series: Builders

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