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Report tracks high-tech workforce

Who's got what when it comes to U.S. high-tech jobs? A report released today by the American Electronics Association tells all.

2 min read
Who's got what when it comes to U.S. high-tech jobs? According to an economic report on the high-tech industry scheduled for release today by the American Electronics Association, California has the highest number of workers, but New Hampshire leads the way in highest concentration of the high-tech workforce.

The study, "Cyberstates: A State-by-State Overview of the High-Tech Industry," covers such ground as jobs, wages, and comparisons of the 4 million computer, telecommunications, and software workers nationwide and other industries.

Data was gathered from the Department of Commerce's Bureau of Labor Statistics for the report.

California was home to 669,000 high-tech workers in 1995--giving the Golden State top rank with the largest number of high-tech workers. Texas followed with 313,460 high-tech workers and New York with 295,649.

But when comparing the number of high-tech workers to a state's total population, New Hampshire had the highest concentration of workers at 78 techies per 1,000 residents in 1995. Colorado and Massachusetts were tied for second with a ratio of 75, while California was third with a ratio of 62.

"New Hampshire had the highest number because it has so few people in the state and it's used as an overflow for high-tech companies from Boston," said George Sollman, AEA chairman and chief executive and president of Centigram.

States that were hiring the most high-tech workers between 1990 and 1995 were Texas, Georgia, Colorado, Washington, and North Carolina. The Lone Star state, which does everything big, created 40,000 new jobs during that time period.

"Dell, Compaq, and Texas Instruments expanded heavily during this time [in Texas]," Sollman said. "And California companies were also opening operations there during this time. Texas has a lower wage scale and a large skilled-labor pool."

But when it comes to growth in high-tech employment, Alaska ranked at the top. Techie tundra types numbered 3,005 in 1995, a 381 percent increase from 1990.

Meanwhile, states that were losing the most high-tech jobs during this five-year period were California, Massachusetts, New York, and New Jersey. Recession hit these areas in the early 1990s and contributed to the slowdown. New York alone lost some 55,000 jobs.

Now what's really important: Which state offers the biggest bucks?

Washington high-tech workers earned an annual average of $57,555 in 1995, followed by New Jersey with $55,970, and California at $55,160.

Tech executives selling off stock options may have skewed the results, since the sale of stock is included in W-2 forms.

Sollman noted that Microsoft's chairman Bill Gates could have tipped the results alone with any stock divestiture.

But wherever they live, there is good news for techies. Nationwide, the average high-tech worker earned $46,986 in 1995--71 percent more than the average private-sector worker at $27,440. The private sector excludes any government and public education jobs.

In total, the U.S. high-tech payroll reached $189 billion in 1995, up 30.3 percent from 1990.