N.H. ranked 1st in tech job growth rate

The American Electronics Association, a technology industry trade organization, has ranked New Hampshire first in the nation for tech job growth rate.

In the report “Cyberstates 2006,” AeA’s annual survey of the U.S. technology industry, New Hampshire added a net of 2,400 jobs for a total of 37,500 in 2004, the most current data available. While the absolute number of high-tech workers placed the Granite State 34th in the nation, the rate at which those numbers grew represented a 6.8 percent increase, the highest in the country.

The report attributed the growth to several tech sectors including the export of high-tech goods, which totaled $1.2 billion in 2005, representing nearly half of the state’s exports.

“The growth of high-tech exports and job gains in New Hampshire are a sign that our tech economy is doing well,” commented Robert A. Livingston, president and CEO of Dover Electronics in Nashua, in the report. ”High-tech exports have grown by 40 percent over the past five years. These exports support tech jobs that pay on average 80 percent more than the average private sector job. And, with tech representing over 7 percent of employment and half of all exports, the tech industry is integral to New Hampshire’s economy. We need to promote this industry and these jobs by embracing trade and supporting math and science education.”

Additional New Hampshire highlights from the report were:

• High-tech firms in New Hampshire employed 71 of every 1,000 private sector workers in 2004, ranked 9th nationwide.

• New Hampshire’s high-tech workers earned an average wage of $71,200 (14th ranked), or 80 percent more than average private sector wage.

• High-tech exports represented 48 percent of New Hampshire’s exports.

The report also illustrated areas in New Hampshire’s high-tech economy that needed improvement:

• New Hampshire’s high-tech payroll was $2.7 billion in 2004, ranked 28th nationwide.

• 2,600 high-tech establishments in 2004, ranked 32nd nationwide.

• High-tech exports totaled $1.2 billion in 2005, ranked 31st nationwide.

Other states in New England faired well in some areas. Massachusetts ranked 6th in nation for the number of high-tech workers — 233,200. The Bay State high-tech workers represented 85 out of every 1,000 private sector employees, 3rd nationwide. Massachusetts high-tech workers also earned the second highest average wage at $87,200.

Connecticut ranked 10th in the nation for wages for high-tech employees at $74,000, and 13th for research and development expenditures of $6.5 billion (in 2003, the most current data available.

Vermont had the highest concentration of technology exports in the country, representing 84 percent of the state’s total exports.

Information for Maine and Rhode Island was not immediately available.

California (904,900), Texas (435,400), New York (300,700), Florida (265,500) and Virginia (253,300) were the top states for having the most employees in high-tech industry. —CINDY KIBBE

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