Peoria Named #3 for High Tech Job Growth for 2006-2011
Peoria, Illinois might not be one of the first places you’d think of as a high-tech center nationally, but a new study released by Engine Advocacy -- “Technology Works” shows Peoria is the #3 metropolitan area in the nation in the “Top 25 Metros for High-Tech Employment Growth from 2010-2011.”
“When we talk about technology in the Greater Peoria Region, many people groan as if the words ‘technology’ and ‘Peoria’ don’t belong in the same sentence, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth,” said Grant Brewen, CEO of Peoria NEXT. “This region has an amazing amount of technology and research activities happening and every day more and more ideas are put to the test. We have always been known as a manufacturing and agriculture focused-region, and the area had to accept the notion that it could also embrace technology commercialization and development to impact regional economic development. The creation of an organization such as Peoria NEXT (started 2001) and the Peoria NEXT Innovation Center (opened 2007) represents the region’s commitment to the technology industry.”
“We have seen significant growth in the technology field locally, especially in the medical and advanced manufacturing industries,” said Roberta Parks, President of the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce. “We have a strong medical community and a top-notch facility at the University of Illinois College of Medicine – combine that with Caterpillar and its commitment to technology and it’s evident there is a lot happening in greater Peoria. The regional economy benefits greatly from high tech jobs which are typically higher wage paying positions, attract higher skilled workers and often attract a younger workforce. These types of jobs help secure our economic future and we realize how important they are, which is why we’ve seen a shift over the past decade to focus on the high tech arena.”
High tech jobs are growing in communities across the United States, outpacing job growth in the private sector as a whole, and boosting local growth and job creation. Engine commissioned the Bay Area Council Economic Institute (BACEI) to analyze Bureau of Labor Statistics data to identify communities around the country that are experiencing pronounced job growth in tech. Engine is a San Francisco-based nonprofit that works to foster innovation and entrepreneurship across the U.S.
• Jobs in high tech industries exist almost everywhere, with 98 percent of U.S. counties home to at least one high tech business.
• Hubs of high tech employment can be found in unexpected places, including communities in the Midwest, South, West, Northeast and along both coasts.
• Employment growth in the high-tech sector has outpaced growth in the private sector by a ratio of three-to-one since the dot-com bust’s bottom in early 2004.
• High tech job growth is projected to outpace the job growth of the economy as a whole over this decade, expanding by 16.2 percent between 2011 and 2020
• High tech workers earn 17 to 27 percent more than their peers in other industries, even when controlling for factors like age, gender, and education
• Higher wages and job growth have significant effects: the creation of one job in the high tech sector is estimated to best associated with the creation of 4.3 other jobs in local economies.
Enrico Moretti, Professor of Economics at the University of California, Berkeley and author of The New Geography of Jobs, said of the report: "This study addresses an important question: how important is high tech employment growth for the US labor market? As it turns out, the dynamism of the US high tech companies matters not just to scientists, software engineers and stockholders, but to the community at large. While the average worker may never be employed by Google or a high tech startup, our jobs are increasingly supported by the wealth created by innovators."
Not only has high-tech job growth remained strong over the last decade, but the report shows that the trend will also continue and that demand for high-tech workers will surpass demand for workers in other sectors. “This research confirms the story that I see unfolding every day in cities across the country.” says Michael McGeary, Senior Strategist for Engine Advocacy. “The trajectory for job growth and the higher incomes of tech workers, combined with the job multiplier effect, make the high-tech sector a key driver of economic growth in cities across America.”