In numbers that havent been matched since 2001, the U.S. tech industry added 140,000 jobs in the first half of 2006, according to a report released Sept. 26 by the Washington, D.C.-based AeA (formerly the American Electronics Association).
Though nearly double the 78,900 added in the first half of 2005, the tech industry growth rate still lags a percentage point behind that of the U.S. private sector.
Composed of communication, software, engineering and tech services, the high-tech services sectors added 107,000 jobs between January and June 2006.
Engineering and tech services led the pack with 49,800 net jobs, followed by software services with 44,500 net jobs.
The communications services sector showed growth for the first time since 2000, with 12,700 net jobs.
Adding 33,100 jobs in the first half of 2006, the high-tech manufacturing sector increased employment for the second consecutive year.
It added jobs in all but one sector, consumer electronics, which shed 400 jobs over the period.
Gains were seen in the semiconductor (13,600), measuring and control instruments (5,900), electronic components (3,900), communications equipment (3,800) and computer and peripheral equipment (3,000).
“The good news is that the U.S. high-tech industry is adding jobs for the second year in a row, and adding jobs across all tech sectors,” said AeAs President and CEO, William T. Archey, in a statement.
“But job growth is by no means as strong as we believe it could be, and it continues to lag growth in the private sector as a whole. Strong tech growth benefits our economy because tech industry wages pay 85 percent more than the average private sector wage and support numerous other jobs.”
In the report, while complimenting the progress in tech job growth, the AeA noted that the rate is much slower than that of its peak in the 1990s.
The AeA stressed the need for technology companies to have access to a highly skilled and educated workforce to be able to compete, cautioning against the lack of a plan by the United States to help it maintain a global dominance in innovation.
It argued that U.S. public policy prevents companies from hiring the most talented people they can find, and encouraged the United States to revamp its education system to help children prepare to fill these jobs.