Telecom Unemployment Rapidly Falls Then Peaks in May

December 4, 2015

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released unemployment figures for May 2024 and the numbers are going up. With the recent changes in the tech industry, this marks the highest unemployment rate in telecommunications since the pandemic. The unemployment rate now stands at 4.9%, a drastic change from its shockingly low position of 0.5% in February.


Fortunately, this is nothing to worry about. According to historical data from the BLS, Telecom unemployment varies wildly between 1.5% and 5% throughout any given year, sometimes dipping below 1% but rarely peaking above 5%. Completing May 204 at 4.9% is quite high, but nothing to be alarmed about. It is very likely that telecom unemployment will reach the low end of its cycle in the fall or late winter.




The Dip and Spike

Telecom unemployment spiked significantly between February and March of 2024. According to BLS, the unemployment rate in telecom was 0.5% in February, the second lowest in 10 years (after 0.4 in July 2023.)


It then jumped to 3.1% in March, then rose again to 4.7% in April, and peaked at 4.9% in May. Ideally, this is the top and we will see telecom unemployment level out after this height.


This unemployment spike is unusually fast for the telecom industry. 4.9% this May is the highest it has been since December 2020, when it was last at 5% after the unprecedented peak of 7.2% the previous June. Of course, 2020 represented special circumstances for everyone across the globe.




Telecom Workforce 

The number of telecom professionals in the workforce has also been steadily dropping since the 2000s, from 1M in 2005 to roughly 625,000 in May 2024. These pieces of information together indicate that while communications technology is stronger than ever, dedicated telco roles are less predominant than they have been in the past.




The Top of the Pendulum Swing

Telecom companies traditionally experience a rise and fall of unemployment throughout the year with a 2–4-year trend between the peaks and zeniths. Like a pendulum, telecom unemployment has a natural swing.


That said, this year has been particularly unusual, both dipping to 0.5% in February and reaching 4.9% by May. The good news is there is no sign that the trend will deviate outside of its usual range.




What Does This Mean for Employees?

Right now, telecom is in a “buyer’s market” configuration, meaning that telecom employees are working harder to secure the roles they want. Recent layoffs across the tech industry hit the telecommunication sector particularly hard. Fortunately, there is still plenty of demand for tech professionals with your talents. These temporary peaks in unemployment often represent organizational restructuring, soon to be followed by another hiring wave that will help most of the now-available workforce find their next opportunity for career growth.




What Does This Mean for Employers?

If you’re looking to hire telecom talent, now is the time! More telecom professionals are available to take a new role now than they were two and three months ago. Those companies struggling to hire in February when the unemployment rate was 0.5% have every reason to crank up recruitment and build your dream team. 




About NextGen | GTA: A Kelly Telecom Company

NextGen | GTA: A Kelly Telecom Company is the brainchild of longtime telecom professionals with nearly 50 years of experience and millions of dollars in Telecom Recruiting Services. We focus on establishing long term relationships with our clients and candidates so we can recruit the best and the brightest in the telecom industry. This ‘quality over quantity’ approach is at the heart of everything we do and has resulted in successful job placements at Fortune 1000 firms worldwide.


Contact us to learn more.


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