The region had a total of 316,500 high-tech jobs in 2006, the latest year for which figures were available, states “Cybercities 2008: An Overview of the High-Technology Industry in the Nation’s Top 60 Cities.” The report was conducted by AeA, a national tech industry trade association.
New York’s regional sum far surpassed other major tech hubs such as San Jose/Silicon Valley, which had 225,300 workers, and Boston, which had 191,700 workers. Washington ranked as the second-largest tech city with 295,800 workers.
“When people think of technology clusters in the U.S., the [New York] area doesn’t come to mind, but it should,” said Justin Wright, executive director of AeA’s New York Council. “Since the bubble burst we’ve seen a migration of some online businesses to the New York metro market.”
The New York metro area was the second-fastest growing city for high-tech employment, the report notes. The region added 6,400 tech jobs in 2006 from the prior year. Seattle experienced the largest tech job growth, adding 7,800 jobs.
According to the report, high-tech jobs significantly contributed to the local economy. In 2006, the average high-tech wage was $91,500 in the New York metro area, 46 percent higher than the average private-sector wage. There were 20,200 high-tech companies in the New York metro area with a payroll of $28.9 billion.
“New York clearly has unique resources—creative talent and financial assets,” Wright said. “The region continues to be a very important player in terms of what happens in the U.S. high-tech community.”
The AeA hopes the report’s findings will encourage New York City and state policymakers to promote and stimulate the growth of the local tech community. For instance, last year AeA began working with New York state legislators on introducing a digital media tax credit that would be similar to the existing tax credit for companies in the film industry, Wright said.
“We need to embrace those initiatives to create a better business environment for smaller tech companies,” he added.
Despite the strong employment numbers, the number of tech workers as a percentage of the total workforce in the New York metro area remained low compared with other cities. High-tech companies employed 46 of every 1,000 private sector workers in 2006. In Silicon Valley, there were 286 high-tech workers per 1,000 private sector workers.
The 2008 Cybercities report is the first national study published by AeA since 2000. In addition to the five boroughs of New York City, the metro area includes Putnam, Rockland, Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester in New York state. It also includes the Pennsylvania county of Pike and the New Jersey counties of Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex and Union.