High-tech jobs growing, communication services take a hit

The high-tech industry is growing in most parts of the country adding 91,400 jobs for a total of 5.9 million in the United States at the end of 2007. This is on top of job gains of 139,000 in 2006 and 87,400 in 2005.

That's just one of the findings from the comprehensive 11th annual Cyberstates 2008 survey done by the AeA (American Electronics Association), high-tech trade association.  The study says software services added 82,600 jobs in 2007, up for the fourth year in a row. Engineering and tech services added 45,800 jobs in 2007, also up for the fourth year in a row, putting it at an all time high.

On the downside, high-tech manufacturing lost 29,800 net jobs in 2007. Seven of the nine tech manufacturing sectors lost jobs in 2007. Only the defense electronics and electromedical equipment sectors added jobs. The communications services sector continued to shed jobs in 2007, albeit at a slower pace, losing 7,200 compared to a loss of 16,900 in 2006.

On a state-by-state basis, Cyberstates 2008 shows that 48 states added jobs in 2006, the most recent data available. California led the nation, adding 21,400 net jobs. The next largest net gains in tech employment between 2005 and 2006 occurred in Texas (+13,700) and Virginia (+ 9,800). Rounding out the top five were New Jersey (+8,500) and New Mexico (+6,700).For the second straight year, Virginia led the nation in concentration of high-tech workers in 2006, with 91 high-tech workers per 1,000 private sector workers. Until 2005, Colorado had owned this distinction since 1998. Massachusetts ranked second in 2006, with 87 high-tech workers per 1,000 private sector workers. Colorado was third, with 83 tech workers per 1,000 private sector workers.

The report also said that for the second straight year, venture capital investments in the technology industry rose, adding $945 million or 6% in 2007, for a total of $16.9 billion. High tech accounts for 58% of all venture capital investments in the nation. R&D expenditures by high-tech companies jumped by six percent in 2005, the most recent data available, totaling $74.9 billion, 37% of total US industry R&D expenditures, the report said.

The Cyberstates 2008 study found these key facts:

·          U.S. high-tech employment totaled 5.9 million in 2007.

·          Tech employment was up in 2007 by 91,400 or by 1.6%.

·          This is on top of the growth of 139,000 in 2006 and 87,400 in 2005.

·          High-tech manufacturing employment fell by 2.3 percent, losing 29,800 jobs between 2006 and 2007.

·          The semiconductor industry lost the most jobs of any manufacturing sector, 12,500 in 2007.

·          Seven of the nine tech manufacturing sectors lost jobs in 2007. Only the defense electronics and electromedical equipment sectors added jobs.

·          The communications services sector continued to shed jobs in 2007, albeit at a slower pace, losing 7,200 compared to a loss of 16,900 in 2006.

·          The software services industry added 82,600 jobs in 2007, up for the fourth year in a row.

·          The engineering and tech services industry added 45,800 jobs in 2007, also up for the fourth year in a row, putting it at an all time high, although this represents fewer jobs than the 72,200 added in 2006.

·          The unemployment rate for electrical engineers was 1.0 percent in 2007 and 2.2 percent for computer and math occupations.

·          The tech industry paid an annual average wage of $79,500 in 2006, 87 percent more than the average private sector wage of $42,400.

·          California pays its tech workers the highest wage - $101,200 in 2006 - followed by Massachusetts, New Jersey, Washington, and Colorado. While the high-tech group behind the study was encouraged by the report, it tempered the results with caution.  

“Tech jobs make critical contributions to the U.S. economy in terms of innovation, and pay extremely well - the average tech industry wage is 87% higher than the average private sector wage. In 47 cyberstates the average high-tech wage is at least 50% higher than the average private sector wage, and in four cyberstates this differential is over 100%. While these are the types of jobs every state wants to attract, the labor market remains tight, with unemployment rates below two percent across many tech occupations." said Christopher Hansen, President and CEO of AeA. “AeA is concerned that future growth is being jeopardized unless the United States prepares itself for a vastly more competitive global marketplace. The tech industry and the country risk an impending slide in U.S. global competitiveness, caused by negligence on the part of our political leaders to adequately invest in scientific research, improve our education system, and allow the best and brightest from around the world to work in the United States.”

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