Washington's High-Tech Sector Leads Nation with Highest Average Wages in the Industry

“Washington’s high-tech workforce leads the nation in earning the highest wages of the industry, according to a new report by the American Electronics Association and the Nasdaq Stock Market. High-tech workers here averaged $106,000 in annual wages.The study, Cyberstates 4.0: A State-By-State Overview of the High-Technology Industry, provides an assessment of the high-tech industry across the nation by employment, wages and exports.According to the report, Washington added 36,500 technology sector jobs between 1993 and 1998, totaling 106,100 employees. The report places Washington as the country’s eighth fastest growing cyberstate. Washington is also the national employment leader in electromedical equipment manufacturing with 4,800 jobs.High-tech wages and employment trends in Washington show the importance of the industry to the state economy, said Dick Martin, chairman of the AEA WA Council and president of Redmond-based Medtronic Physio-Control. That the average high-tech wage is now six figures is extraordinary, and far ahead of any other state.Washington ranked sixth nationwide in venture capital investments in 1999 with $1.2 billion invested, and ninth in R&D in 1997 at $7.5 billion.The report found the U.S. high-tech industry workforce surged to 5 million workers in 1999, adding around 1.2 million new workers since 1993. All 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico added new high-tech jobs between 1997 and 1998, the report stated. California, Texas, Virginia, Colorado and Georgia led the nation in high-tech job creation.California takes the top slot for being the nation’s high-tech powerhouse, employing 835,000 industry workers in 1998. It was also the fastest growing state for the industry between 1993 and 1998, creating 193,000 new high-tech jobs.Texas ranked second in overall high-tech employment with a total of 411,000 workers, and also ranks second in creation of new high-tech jobs adding over 132,000 new industry positions between 1993 and 1998. Colorado now boasts the highest concentration of technology workers, knocking New Hampshire from that position.The annual average wage for the nation’s high-tech workforce was $58,000 in 1998, compared with the average private sector wage of $32,000 – a whopping 82 percent differential. Total payroll for the sector reached $279 billion in 1998 – up from $182 billion in 1993 when adjusted for inflation.Today’s U.S. high-tech industry is not only invigorating and sustaining the American economy but that of most states as well, said William T. Archey, AEA president and CEO. Cyberstates 4.0 shows conclusively that the high-tech industry is no longer confined to Silicon Valley and Boston’s Route 128. It is now an industry whose scope, dynamism and impact extends from sea to sea.America’s technology industry has become the primary driver of our economy, said Mark Stevenson, chairman of AEA and executive chairman of E-M Solutions, a Colorado firm. Its pervasiveness is evident just about everywhere you turn. I’m particularly proud of what Colorado has done to attract and retain the high-tech companies that provide high-paying jobs for our citizens and improve the standard of living.Findings from Cyberstates 4.0 include:- The nation’s leading cyberstates by employment in 1998 were California, at 835,000; Texas, at 411,000; New York, at 329,000; Illinois, at 218,000; and Massachusetts, at 217,000.- California’s employment growth ranked fifth behind Texas and Georgia, both at 48 percent; Colorado, at 49 percent; and Washington at 52 percent.- The $58,000 annual average high-tech wage is a full 82 percent higher than the average private sector wage. The best-paid high-tech workers are in the prepackaged software sector, earning an average of $95,000 in 1998.- The top cyberstates by wages were Washington, at $106,000; New Jersey, at $69,000; California, at $67,000; Virginia, at $66,000; and Connecticut, at $65,000.- U.S. high-tech exports totaled $181 billion in 1999, an 85 percent increase from 1993. California led the nation at $53 billion; with Texas at $25 billion; Massachusetts at $9 billion; Florida at $8 billion; and New York at $7.6 billion.- Colorado’s lead in the highest concentration of technology workers means 84 per every 1,000 private sector workers were in the high-tech industry. The increase in concentration comes from the 48,000 jobs added in that sector between 1993 and 1998.- Texas, California, New Mexico, Oregon and Colorado were the national leaders in electronics exports growth between 1997 and 1999.- California led the country in all but one technology industry segment. New York was first in photonics, with 49,000 jobs. Virginia ranked second in software services, with 55,000 jobs, and Minnesota ranked second in electromedical equipment, with 7,000 jobs.- California, Massachusetts, New York, Texas and Colorado were the leading states by the amount of venture capital investments in 1999.The Cyberstates 4.0 report measures the economic importance of the high-tech industry in each state by payroll, establishments and exports. It includes chapters on national employment and wage trends in the industry.The report is based on U.S. government data.”