©2018 Michigan Economic Development Corporation

Michigan: The High-Technology Automotive State

Saturday, November 16, 2002

Jennifer Kopp-Owens
(517) 335-4590

Study Shows State Maintains Its Fourth Place High-Tech Worker Ranking

A study released today, commissioned by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, shows that Michigan is ranked fourth in the nation for total employment in high-tech industries. 

The recently updated study concludes that Michigan has more than 568,000 high-tech workers.This a gain of more than 38,000 high-tech workers since the study was first completed about two years ago.  

“This study proves that our state’s workforce is one of the most technologically advanced in the nation,” said Doug Rothwell, president & CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.“With many new high-tech initiatives recently put into motion, the number of high-tech workers in Michigan is destined to grow in the years to come.” 

The study, conducted by the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) at the Altarum Institute, uses the 29 industry groups that U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) researchers define as high-technology industries in calculating the total number of high-tech workers by state.The BLS researchers define industries as “high tech” if the percentage of the Industry’s workforce in both research and development and technology-oriented jobs was twice the overall U.S.industry average. 

This fourth place ranking is dramatically higher than the ratings reported annually by the American Electronic Association in the Cyberstates study.This year, Michigan was ranked 17th in this annual ranking. 

This disparity can be attributed to the fact that the Cyberstates survey excludes industries such as automotive, biotechnology and aerospace from the annual ranking.The automotive industry alone employs more than 70,000 high-tech workers in Michigan. 

“Michigan has one of the most innovative and technology-driven economies in the nation,” Rothwell said.“Getting an accurate count of our high-tech workers helps us to quantify that fact and market Michigan as a great place for technology companies to locate and expand.” 

Michigan isn’t the only state that is positively affected by this more accurate counting system.Ohio leaps from twelfth in the Cyberstates study to sixth in the CAR study.  

The study also found that Michigan ranks second among the 50 states in total private spending on research and development activity.With more than $17 billion spent in Michigan on research and development in 1999, only California can boast more dollars spent.  

A principal author of the study, Dr. Sean McAlinden of CAR said, "Our research proves once again that Michigan is home to one of the largest concentrations of private sector high-tech employment and activity in the world.This study exhibits Michigan's expanding role as the advanced engineering and research center for the automotive industry - the largest manufacturing industry in the world." 

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation, a partnership between the state and local communities, promotes smart economic growth by developing strategies and providing services to create and retain good jobs and a high quality of life.