©2016 Michigan Economic Development Corporation

Michigan's High-Tech Workforce Dramatically Undercounted, New Study Says

Tuesday, May 16, 2000

John Truscott
(517) 335-6397

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced today the findings of a new study that demonstrates that the state’s high-tech workforce is dramatically larger than previously reported by national rankings. The study shows that the American Electronics Association (AEA) uses a narrow definition of high-tech in their annual ranking, "Cyberstates." The rankings are viewed as critical by the MEDC to changing the nation’s perception of Michigan as a high-tech center.

Under current AEA reporting guidelines, the auto industry is excluded from the data. According to the new MEDC report, which uses the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics definition of high-tech industries, there are 530,492 high-tech workers in Michigan.

"These numbers would move us up from the 17th ranked high-tech state, according to AEA rankings, to the 4th ranked state," said Doug Rothwell, president and CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. "Michigan is emerging as the state where info tech is put to work, but our reputation won’t reflect that until all our high-tech workers are counted in these major studies."

The new data, which shows Michigan’s high-tech employment figure at 530,492, is a difference of over 450 percent from AEA’s number of 96,013.

"We initiated this study because we have felt for some time that the auto industry is unfairly viewed as not being part of the so-called ‘new economy.’ While the statistics used by the AEA are based on federal industry codes, even the AEA admits they are outdated," Rothwell said. "If you are a rocket scientist, work in research and development or program computers at General Motors, you don’t count as high tech. That needs to be fixed."

The MEDC study, undertaken with the Michigan Automotive Partnership, also found that 65,674 workers in the auto industry alone are high tech and not counted by AEA, according to the study. In fact, 15.9 percent of auto employment in Michigan at these companies is in high-tech fields, a rate higher than some other industries traditionally considered high-tech. About 79 percent of high-tech employment for GM, Ford and DaimlerChrysler is located in Michigan.

"These numbers show that Michigan has the brains of the automotive industry," Rothwell said. "This study proves that this industry and Michigan is one of the high-tech centers of the world."

The study was conducted by the University of Michigan’s Office for the Study of Automotive Transportation.

AEA Ranking of High-Tech Employment

1997

High-Tech Industries Employment, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

1997

1) California

784,151

1) California

1,332,578

2) Texas

375,933

2) Texas

697,789

3) New York

320,410

3) New York

536,071

4) Illinois

207,201

4) Michigan

530,492

5) Massachusetts

205,091

5) Illinois

494,684

6) Florida

193,559

6) Ohio

471,804

7) New Jersey

179,528

7) Pennsylvania

387,844

8) Pennsylvania

159,952

8) New Jersey

348,367

9) Virginia

154,712

9) Florida

347,800

10) Georgia

132,524

10) Massachusetts

346,125

11) Ohio

132,076

11) Virginia

283,417

12) Colorado

131,854

12) North Carolina

269,652

13) Minnesota

123,866

13) Indiana

258,660

14) North Carolina

119,831

14) Washington

250,168

15) Maryland

97,484

15) Georgia

216,212

16) Washington

97,025

16) Minnesota

204,869

17) Michigan

96,013

17) Wisconsin

195,071

18) Arizona

89,174

18) Tennessee

190,277

19) Missouri

72,332

19) Missouri

189,718

20) Connecticut

71,507

20) Maryland

182,711