Tech Industry Slowed in 2000, New Report Shows

Technology industry employment grew 4.6 percent in 2000, its slowest rate since 1994 and 1995, according to a report released June 6 by the largest U.S. high-tech trade association, AeA, and the Nasdaq Stock Market.

The 160-page report, "Cyberstates 2001: A State-by-State Overview of the High-Technology Industry," shows U.S. high-tech industry jobs reached 5.3 million last year, an increase of 235,000 from 1999.

The report confirms that the high-tech slowdown began in 2000, and many indicators point to a continued slowdown this year, said William Archey, AeA president and chief executive officer.

However, Archey pointed out some states have flourished in spite of the economic uncertainty. California added more than 100,000 tech jobs last year, and Texas created 15,000. Virginia and Colorado each added more than 10,000 tech jobs in 2000, he said.

In fact, all states except West Virginia saw their high-tech industry employment grow between 1999 and 2000, according to the study.

California remains the nation's technology powerhouse, employing 973,600 workers in 2000, the study found. Texas ranked second in overall high-tech employment, with 440,700 workers.

New York, Massachusetts and Florida followed in the employment rankings. Colorado has the highest concentration of technology workers in the nation, with 97 high-tech workers per 1,000 private-sector workers, compared with 84 per 1,000 in 1998.

The average high-tech wage was $64,900 in 2000, up from $58,976 in 1998, and was 95 percent greater than the nation's average private-sector wage of $33,200 in 1999.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, high-tech manufacturing employment rebounded by 18,000 jobs last year compared to a decline of 69,000 jobs between 1998 and 1999, the study found. Meanwhile, growth in software and computer-related services jobs was cut nearly in half to 8 percent from 15 percent in 1999. Nonetheless, this industry segment added 145,900 jobs in 2000.

Despite the slowdown, the study found that unemployment in many key high-tech professions remained very low. For example, unemployment in 2000 was 1.1 percent for electrical engineers and 1.7 percent for computer programmers.

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