The number of available full-time tech jobs has increased 46% in the past year, and contractors' hourly rates are rising as companies seek ways to overcome the ongoing IT skills shortage, according to a monthly report from Dice.

Dice, one of the largest tech recruitment sites, said the number of full-time positions advertised by its service rose from 29,101 on Oct. 1, 2009 to 42,502 on Oct. 1, 2010, a 46% increase. 

Total tech jobs, including full-time, contract and part-time positions, rose from 51,439 to 70,798 in the 12 months ending Oct. 1. Next month's numbers are shaping up to be even more robust, with Dice already reporting 74,089 tech jobs on Thursday of this week.

"The economy has created nearly 400,000 temporary positions in just 12 months," Dice senior vice president Tom Silver wrote in his monthly report. "By comparison, it took more than three years to achieve that kind of growth during the last recovery. In tech, both full-time and contract hiring have been in lock-step with recruitment activity in both up about 50 percent since the lows in mid-2009."

Tech hiring has risen steadily throughout 2010. Dice reported 48,751 available tech jobs as of Jan. 4, including full-time, contract and part-time positions. That number was up to 68,901 by Sept. 1.

Other good signs: Silicon Valley posted its highest job count on Dice in two years, with 4,567 jobs, up 64% from a year ago. The Seattle region, home of Microsoft, Amazon, Nintendo and others, saw open tech positions double in the past year to 2,355.

Although having more jobs available is a good thing, Silver notes that hiring managers are, as usual, finding it difficult to locate skilled applicants, potentially making it difficult to fill open jobs.

Silver says Dice is "hearing anecdotal reports that contractors' hourly rates have begun creeping up across the board, a response to the age-old IT challenge: the skills shortage."

Java developers, database administrators, virtualization specialists and project managers are among the most in demand IT pros.

Although Dice numbers show substantial increases in the number of full-time positions, Silver indicates that the best post-recession opportunities may lie in contracting work.

"Two years of recession meant two years of limited hiring, if hiring at all," Silver said. "Attrition, while dampened by the lack of opportunities, still left many IT organizations understaffed. But businesses continued to require technology upgrades, and the backlog of projects only grew at most companies, who now need contractors to step in. Apparently, enough of them are eager enough that they'll pay higher rates."

In the United States at large, the unemployment rate is 9.6% and 14.8 million Americans are unemployed, according to the Department of Labor