Story updated with comments from tech recruitment experts.
NEW YORK (
) --Tech giants continued to add workers in January after sharply ramping up hiring in 2011, with companies such as
helping to accelerate a U.S. recovery from the recession.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn't provide a comprehensive view of tech hiring. Friday's jobs report, however, offers indicators of the sector's health. Companies providing computer systems design and other services, for example, added 1,700 jobs, bringing total employment to 1.6 million.
Management and technical consulting services, meanwhile, added 3,000 jobs to 1.1 million.
Unemployment in the tech sector fell to 3.8% in January after hovering around 4% for the last several months. This compares an overall U.S. unemployment rate of 8.3%.
"When you're talking about 4% or 5% this really represents full employment," said Scot Melland, CEO of Dice.com, an IT careers site.
Technology hiring continues to gain momentum as top firms look to keep up their growth rates.
Amazon plans to create 4,500 new jobs in its fulfillment centers this year, as the e-commerce giant invests heavily in warehouses and shipping services. The e-commerce giant boosted its headcount to 56,200 in 2011 from 33,700.
Facebook has also said it plans to step up its hiring this year amid its
. Last year, the social network increased its headcount to 3,200 from 2,127 in 2010.
, which added more than 8,000 workers in 2011 to bring its total headcount to 32,500, has also said it plans to bolster hiring in its New York office this year. The company is investing aggressively in new areas outside its core search business like mobile and display ads to avoid stagnant growth.
Expect a 10% increase in information technology-related hiring during the first quarter of 2012, according to staffing firm Robert Half, which surveyed chief information officers.
"We've been saying 'cautiously optimistic' for 18 months, but this is the first time we actually mean it," said Joel Capperella, vice president of marketing for Yoh, a Philadelphia-based staffing agency which specializes in the information technology sector.
Caparella said he has noticed an uptick in recent months among employers turning many of their part-time workers into fulltime employees.
Job candidates with backgrounds in engineering and software development are particularly in high demand.
Tech professionals saw their wages rise more than 2% in 2011 to $81,327 from $79,384, according to Dice.
More than 3.98 million people were employed in IT-related fields by the end of 2011, close to the 4 million employed in 2008 prior to the recession.
--Written by Olivia Oran in New York.
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