PTC Finds Pa. Region's Tech Industry Marked by Increased Wages, Job Loss

April 05, 2004

A significant reduction in employment among southwestern Pennsylvania's technology industries in 2002 was not enough to offset signs of a turnaround, according to new data released by the Pittsburgh Technology Council (PTC). Over the second half of the year, a turnaround began to emerge and technology companies accounted for nearly 17.5 percent of the region’s workforce, PTC's annual State of the Industry Report shows. The region's technology industries also experienced an average 4 percent increase in annual wages.

Released last month, the PTC report attempts to take a deeper look at the emerging technology clusters found in southwestern Pennsylvania. The updated report considers the contributions of technology companies to the 13 counties comprising the region, drawing on growth numbers from 2002.

In all, thirteen key industry clusters are identified by PTC. Covered in this year's edition of the State of the Industry Report are eight new clusters, including: system-on-a-chip, data storage, nanotechnology and micro-electro mechanical systems, cyber security, tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, electro-optics, robotics, and fuel cells. The report details the importance and future contributions of these technologies for southwestern Pennsylvania.

The region's tech industry took a hit during 2001-2002, losing 400 tech companies and 5,000 tech jobs, the report observes. PTC notes, however, that wages have increased in each of southwestern Pennsylvania's existing five clusters. Information technology led all sectors with an average 11 percent wage increase across the metropolitan statistical area. As an example, the average annual wage for the software sub-cluster was the highest in the report at $71,300.

PTC also indicates that the region's universities have experienced growth in research and development (R&D) spending, fueled by activity in the life sciences. For 2002, Carnegie Mellon University reported a sharp increase of 58 percent in R&D spending over the prior year, while the University of Pittsburgh reported an 8.5 percent increase in the category. Combined, the two universities accounted for an all-time high of 76 patents, a 13 percent increase.

Southwestern Pennsylvania is comprised of Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Bedford, Butler, Cambria, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Lawrence, Somerset, Westmoreland and Washington Counties. The State of the Industry Report is available at: http://news.pghtech.org/report.cfm

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