SAN FRANCISCOOverall U.S. high-tech employment increased in 2008 for the fourth consecutive year, as net job gains in software services and engineering and tech services offset declines in high-tech manufacturing, particularly within the semiconductor industry, according to a study released last week.
High-tech employment in the U.S. increased by 77,000 jobs in 2008, according to the Cyberstates 2009 report created by TechAmerica, the industry trade group formed by the merger of AeA and the Information Technology Association of America.
In the fourth quarter of 2008, U.S. high-tech employment declined by only 0.6 percent while total private-sector employment declined by 1.3 percent, according to the report.
The Cyberstates report relies on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The report provides 2008 national data on tech employment as well as 2007 national and state-by-state data on high-tech employment, wages, establishments, payroll, wage differential, and employment concentration.
Software services added 86,200 net jobs in 2008, according to the report, while engineering and tech services added 26,600 net jobs. It marked the fifth straight year of net job increases in these sectors, the two strongest in the U.S. high-tech employment sector, the report said.
But six of the nine high-technology manufacturing sectors lost jobs in 2008, the report said. The three manufacturing sectors that added jobs were communications equipment, measuring and control instruments, and electromedical equipment, according to the report.
High-tech manufacturing shed a total of 23,100 jobs in 2008, while communications services shed 12,700 jobs, according to the report.
The largest decline by sector in high-tech manufacturing employment between 2007 and 2008 was in semiconductors, which shed 10,900 jobs, a 4.6 percent drop, according to the report.
In a statement, Christopher Hansen, CEO of TechAmerica, said future growth in high-tech jobs is clearly jeopardized by the current economic downturn.
"While we suffered losses in the fourth quarter, our industry has weathered the storm better than most, and the results of our report indicate that the tech industry is well positioned to help lead America's economic recovery," Hansen said.
TechAmerica pointed to the technology initiatives and investments in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Actthe federal stimulus packageas 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," said Phillip Bond, President of TechAmerica.
The high-tech industry has added 382,900 jobs to the U.S. economy over the last four year and had 5.9 million total workers at the close of 2008, according to the Cyberstates report.
The U.S. high-tech jobs in 2008 followed gains of 77,500 in 2007, 139,000 in 2006, and 87,400 in 2005, according to the Cyberstates report.
California, with the largest number of high-tech employees in the nation, added 2,000 net jobs in 2007, the most recent year for which state-by-state data is available, according to the report. It was the third time since 2000 that California's high-tech industries added jobs, the report said.
The report found that California continues to lead the nation by most high-tech industry metrics. California's tech workers had the highest average wage at $107,100 which is 114 percent more than the state's average private sector wage, according to the report.
Cyberstates 2009 may be purchased for $150 through TechAmerica's website.