In 2006, the U.S. high-tech sector employed 5.8 million people — up by 146,600, or 3 percent — according to a widely watched report on the subject fromAeA, a nationwide nonprofit trade association.
Not since the dot-com heyday in 2000 has the U.S. tech job environment looked so inviting, according to “Cyberstates 2007: A Complete State-by-State Overview of the High-Technology Industry,” which covers all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
“There still 800,000 jobs missing from that era,” Matthew Kazmierczak, report author and vice president of research, told the E-Commerce Times. “However, many people maintain those numbers were unsustainable and others were not truly IT-related.”
Other promising signs in this year’s report: Unlike earlier years, when only a handful of states actually added tech jobs, a whopping 40 states added such employment.
“It is a big turnaround for the nation as a whole,” Kazmierczak said.
The states that have not joined the trend are those that were disproportionately affected by the telecom bust and still have not developed a counterweight industry to compensate, he added.
It comes as little surprise that California stood out in the study, adding 14,400 net jobs — a 2 percent increase — for a total of 919,300 in 2005, the most recent year numbers were available for the state. Computer systems design and related services and engineering services were the leading sectors.
Another high-tech hotspot in 2005 was the Washington, D.C., area. Northern Virginia had the highest concentration of tech workers in the country that year, the report found, making it the fastest-growing state in terms of adding tech workers.
High-tech employees in this region are well compensated: Virginia’s average annual high-tech wage is US$83,600 — 99 percent more than its average private sector wage. D.C.’s average high-tech wage is $80,100 — 30 percent more than the district’s average private sector wage. Maryland’s average high-tech wage is $77,000 — 80 percent more than the state’s average private sector wage.
Florida was the second-fastest-growing state in terms of high-tech jobs, with employment in the industry jumping by 6,700, for a total of 265,500 positions in 2004, the latest year for which state data was available.
“Florida did well in last year’s report too,” Kazmierczak noted. “It is a bit unusual, because it is not thought of as a tech-centric state.”
Tech industry workers earn 71 percent more than the average private sector worker in Florida, according to the AeA.