Michigan 3rd in high tech jobs growth

Posted on December 7, 2012

Part of Metro Detroit and Michigan both received high national rankings for high-tech job growth, according to a study released Thursday by advocacy group Engine Advocacy.

The Great Lakes State had a 6.9 percent increase in technology jobs from 2010 to 2011, placing it behind Delaware and South Carolina with a growth rate more than twice the national average of 2.6 percent, according to an analysis of federal employment data by the Bay Area Council Economic Institute.

Among the top 25 metropolitan areas, the Lansing area finished sixth with a growth rate of 17.6 percent, while Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills was No. 13 with a 10.6 percent rise. Greensboro-High Point, N.C., experienced the most growth at 36.3 percent.

High-tech employment was defined as mostly science, technology, engineering and math jobs by the institute and sponsoring Engine Advocacy, a San Francisco-based group of more than 400 member companies — mostly tech startups — that include Mozilla, Living Social and Yelp.

A Michigan economist cautioned not to make too much about the one-year results.

“I don’t mean to say it’s meaningless, but you’d like to see it against the backdrop of a broader set of data,” said Alex Rosaen, director of public policy and economics for the Anderson Economic Group in East Lansing.

An appendix showed that Michigan’s five-year growth rate for technology jobs was a 4.2 percent loss. The state ranked No. 13 in the nation for its 167,200 tech jobs in 2011. The report calculated that tech jobs comprised 5 percent of the state’s employment — below the 5.6 percent U.S. average.

Michigan also lagged the rest of the country in its salaries, which averaged $82,960 compared with a U.S. rate of $95,832, according to the study.

Still, Rosaen said the state is strong in certain high-tech areas .

“Michigan does well on a lot of measures of research and development,” he said. “It’s better to be higher than lower, and this list has some meaning.”

Michael Martinez, The Detroit News