High-Tech Employment, Wages Grow Across U.S.

Technology industry employment grew 4.6 percent in 2000, its slowest rate since 1994-1995, according to a report by the AeA, and The Nasdaq Stock Market.

The report, “Cyberstates 2001: State-by-State Overview of the High-Technology Industry,” also found that U.S. high-tech industry jobs reached 5.3 million last year, an increase of 235,000 from 1999. Software and computer-related services employment reached 2 million in 2000, adding more than 145,000 jobs last year.

Every state except West Virginia (and U.S. territory Puerto Rico) saw its high-tech industry employment grow between 1999 and 2000, the report found. The national average high-tech wage of $64,900 rose from $58,976 in 1998 and was 95 percent greater than the nation’s average private sector wage of $33,200 in 1999, compared to 67 percent in 1994. U.S. high-tech exports, meanwhile, reached $223 billion last year, a 92 percent increase from $116 billion in 1994. High-tech exports now represent 29 percent of all U.S. exports.

“Cyberstates 2001 confirms that the current high-tech slowdown began in 2000. And many current indicators point to a continued slowing of growth for 2001,” said AeA’s President and CEO William T. Archey. “Yet despite the present economic uncertainty, some states have flourished. California added more than 100,000 tech jobs and Texas created 15,000 last year alone. We also found that Virginia and Colorado each added more than 10,000 tech jobs in 2000.”

The headlines may have been telling a different story, but the report found that high-tech manufacturing employment rebounded by 18,000 jobs in 2000 compared to a decline of 69,000 jobs between 1998 and 1999. The explosive rate of growth in software and computer-related services jobs diminished to 8 percent compared to 15 percent in 1999, but this industry segment added 145,900 jobs in 2000. Despite the slowdown, the report also found that unemployment in many key high-tech professions remained extremely low. For example, unemployment for electrical engineers was 1.1 percent and 1.7 percent for computer programmers in 2000.

California remains the nation’s technology capital, employing 973,600 workers in 2000. Texas ranked No. 2 in overall high-tech employment with 440,700 workers, followed by New York, Massachusetts and Florida. Massachusetts and Florida each climbed one notch in the rankings to fourth and fifth, respectively. Illinois’ slower rate of job growth caused it to drop from fourth to sixth. Colorado boasts the highest concentration of technology workers in the nation, with 97 high-tech workers per 1,000 private sector workers, compared with 84 in 1998.

Washington ($134,000), California ($83,100), Massachusetts ($72,000), Virginia ($72,000) and New Jersey ($71,800) topped the list for highest high-tech wages. California, Texas, Massachusetts, Florida and New York led the nation in high-tech exports in 2000.

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