High-Tech Employment Shows Promise

High-tech employment increased slightly in 2005, boasting 61,000 new jobs, with Florida, Maryland and New Hampshire leading the way.

U.S. high-tech employment increased 1 percent in 2005, bringing the nationwide total to 5.6 million, with the greatest gains in the electronic manufacturing, software, and engineering and tech services segments, according to the Cyberstates 2006 report released April 18 by the American Electronics Association, a nationwide trade association representing the technology industry.

High-tech employment boasted 61,000 new jobs in 2005, which is promising news after losing 44,700 jobs in 2004 and 333,000 in 2003.

"While we are encouraged by the positive employment trend, the technology industry is focused on the long-term health of the industry, the economy and our nation," said AeAs president and CEO, William T. Archey, in a statement.

"Tech industry employment only grew by 1 percent last year compared to 2 percent for the U.S. private sector as a whole. To promote the creation of high-paying technology jobs for the future, we need to address the competitiveness issues facing our country, today."

With 909,900 jobs, California continues to lead the U.S. in high-tech employment. Texas has less than half as many, coming in second with 435,000 tech jobs. New York, Florida and Virginia filled out the top five spots.

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The largest gains in tech industry jobs took place in Puerto Rico (1,900), New Hampshire (2,400), Maryland (2,800) and Florida (6,700).

Virginia, with 9,100, gained the largest number of jobs in 2004.

Of the four broad segments covered in the report, only communications services suffered big job losses, with 42,600 fewer jobs than last year.

However, these communications services job losses show a tapering down from losses as big as 126,000 jobs in 2002.

The other three segments showed notable job gains last year, with electronics manufacturing gaining 3,300, software gaining 43,400, and engineering and tech services gaining 57,000, putting it at an all-time high.

Electronics manufacturing showed its first gain since the tech bubble burst in 2000.

U.S. high-tech workers were paid an average wage of $72,400 in 2004, the most recent wage data available for the tech industry, with software service employees, at $80,600, earning a little more.

The best paid high-tech industry employees in 2004 were in the computer and peripheral equipment manufacturing industry, earning an average wage of $96,200.

Those in the software publishers industry came in second at $95,500, with semiconductor manufacturing filling out the third slot at $89,400.

Unemployment rates for most tech professions fell in 2005, with electrical engineering falling to 1.5 percent, its lowest rate in three years.

The report, which details national and state trends in high-tech employment, wages, exports, and additional economic factors, bases its research on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which lags nine months.

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