U.S. High-Tech Industry Add Jobs

May 6, 2009
The high-tech industry has added 382,900 jobs to the U.S. economy over the past four years.

The high-tech industry has added 382,900 jobs to the U.S. economy over the past four years, according to TechAmerica’s 12th annual Cyberstates report. The industry added 77,000 net jobs in 2008, for a total of 5.9 million workers. This was on top of 79,600 added in 2007, 139,000 in 2006 and 87,400 in 2005. TechAmerica was formed by the merger of AeA and the Information Technology Assn. of America. Fourth-quarter data from 2008 show the tech industry’s resilience compared to the U.S. economy as a whole, having sustained only a 0.6% drop in employment, or 38,000 jobs, in Q4 2008 when total private-sector employment declined by 1.3%.

“The U.S. high-tech industry continued to add jobs in 2008. However, future growth is clearly jeopardized as a result of the current economic downturn and the volatility of global financial markets,” says Christopher Hansen, CEO of TechAmerica. “While we suffered losses in the fourth quarter, our industry has weathered the storm better than most, and the results of our report indicate the tech industry is well-positioned to help lead America’s economic recovery.”

TechAmerica pointed to the technology initiatives and investments in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act—the federal stimulus package—as further evidence of the leading role of technology in powering economic growth and job creation.

“In crafting the stimulus bill, Congress and the Obama Administration put their trust in the transformative power of technology to build infrastructure for the 21st Century, modernize our education and healthcare systems and create smarter and more efficient ways to use energy,” says Phillip Bond, president of TechAmerica. “The results of our Cyberstates report show that they’ve chosen wisely—technology investments will foster new economic growth at the state, local and national levels. With our 50-state advocacy network, TechAmerica is already on the ground to assist governments at all levels in their economic recovery efforts, and we remain uniquely positioned to track and report on the technology industry’s efforts to aid America’s economic recovery.”

2008 was the fifth straight year of employment gains in the tech industry’s two strongest sectors—software services, which added 86,200 net jobs, and engineering and tech services, which added 26,600 net jobs. The downside is that the other two technology sectors saw net employment losses. High-tech manufacturing shed 23,100 jobs and communications services shed 12,700 jobs.

Cyberstates 2009 shows that 39 cyberstates experienced net tech job growth. The largest gains occurred in Texas (+14,700), Georgia (+13,100), Washington (+11,300), North Carolina (+5,500) and Virginia (+5,300). On a percentage basis, Kansas saw the fastest job growth in 2007 at 8.1%.

For the fourth straight year, Virginia led the nation with the highest concentration of tech workers—92 of every 1,000 private sector workers in the state were employed in the tech industry. Virginia was followed by Massachusetts and Colorado.