High tech continues to make a comeback in N.H.

The number of high-tech jobs in New Hampshire is continuing a slow recovery from the post-Y2K collapse, according to an analysis of 2006 data. And those jobs continue to carry a big advantage: much higher salaries than in many other fields.

The 11th annual Cyberstates survey confirms the importance of the tech sector to New Hampshire’s jobs picture. The state had the eighth-highest concentration of high technology jobs, compared to other states, with 7.1 percent of private-sector workers employed in that category.

The report says the number of tech jobs has climbed in New Hampshire for the past three years, but not by much: The 2006 tally of 38,202 jobs is only about 6 percent above the level of 2003.

And, like virtually all states, our tech-employment tally remains well below the 2000 peak, which in New Hampshire’s case was almost 48,000 jobs.

AeA, formerly the American Electronics Association, compiles the Cyberstates report. It uses U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics, based on company filings required by unemployment insurance programs.

Its definition of high-tech employment includes electronics manufacturing, communications services, software services and a catch-all category called “engineering and tech services.”

Not surprisingly, New Hampshire was dwarfed in the report by Massachusetts, which in 2006 had almost a quarter-million tech jobs at more than 11,000 companies, and the second-highest concentration of tech workers of any state, behind only Virginia.

But the state trumped its other neighbors: Maine and Vermont both had fewer than 16,000 tech workers, less than half New Hampshire’s tally.

In terms of salary, the average New Hampshire 2006 tech wage of $79,080 was 84 percent higher than the state’s average private sector wage of $43,022.

In terms of venture capital, the report had more recent data, covering 2007. It found:

• New Hampshire’s venture capital more than doubled to $163 million, up from $80 billion the year before, ranking the state 21st nationwide.

• Nationally, it had aggregate jobs data for 2007. The report said the national high-tech industry added jobs for the third consecutive year, totaling 5.9 million. As with New Hampshire, this number is only a small improvement over recent years, and remains well below the 2000 peak.

More details are available in the report, which is available to AeA members for $125 and to non-members for $250. – DAVID BROOKS/THE TELEGRAPH