Embedded Engineering and the Unemployment Rate

Embedded Engineering and the Unemployment Rate

The unemployment rate is a key indicator for economic health, including for the Electronics and Embedded Software Engineer job market. While independent agencies have calculated it since the 1930s, the government didn’t begin tracking it until the 1950s. There’s a lot of disagreement on the number’s implications, but it’s still a good data point to consider when evaluating the job market.

Unfortunately, we don’t have a good number for unemployment related to Electronics and Embedded Software Engineers. That said, we can get a sense of where this job market stands by looking at the broader tech sector. As one might expect, these numbers run below the national average, with important ramifications for those in this space.


It can be difficult to figure the exact unemployment numbers for the tech field, as there’s even disagreement about what companies/jobs fall into that definition. This is why we’ll look at two different numbers.

• The unemployment rate for Engineers and Architects
• CompTIA’s calculated rate for Tech Unemployment

Between these, we can get a view of the landscape.

Embedded Software


There’s no consensus on an ideal unemployment number, but most experts agree a healthy rate is between 3-5%. A number lower than 3% means there aren’t enough job candidates to meet demand.

It will come as no surprise to anyone trying to hire engineers that the tech sector’s rate is below 3%. By the end of August:

• The unemployment rate for Engineers and Architects was 1.9% (up from an all-time low of .7% in July)
• The calculated rate for the tech sector was 2.3% (up from 1.7% in July)

The jumps in both rates had to do with a wave of August layoffs. Given the ongoing demand, the downsized employees are expected to be back to work shortly, driving it down again. For comparison, the national unemployment rate went up .2% in the same month to 3.7%.


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Even when hit with a wave of layoffs, the tech sector’s unemployment rate remains below a healthy level. Consider the Electronics and Embedded Software job market is projected to grow 22-24% by 2028. At the same time, the engineering shortage is expected to get worse.

Because of this, we can expect recent trends to continue, such as:

• Increasing compensation
• Positions remain difficult, and take longer, to fill
• Engineers working extra to cover unfilled roles
• Turnover continues to be a problem, even for good employers
• Reorganizations to cover lack of staff
• More varied career options for engineers

In addition, there are always ramifications we don’t see until after the fact. We’ve never had this level of low supply and high demand for engineering skills, so the years ahead remain unpredictable.

For 30+ years, PRA USA has used our market knowledge and recruiting network to make sure our candidates and clients in the Electronics, Embedded, and Controls have the advantage they need to succeed. Contact us and let us know what we can do for you.