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Useful Stats: Employment in high-tech and manufacturing by state, 2013-2017

May 02, 2019
By: Jason Rittenberg

Many regional economic development strategies emphasize employment in manufacturing or high-tech, as these industries tend to provide well-paying jobs. Through an analysis of American Community Survey five-year data for 2013-2017, SSTI assessed state-level employment concentration within these sectors.

The portion of a state’s employment based high-tech sectors ranged from 3.8 percent to 13.6 percent (or 14.4 percent for D.C.), from 2013-2017 (see “methodology” for a detailed description of what industries are included). Nationally, approximately 8.2 percent of the public is employed in high-tech industries.

The distribution of states is slightly skewed, with 35 states below the national benchmark and 16 states (and D.C.) above 8.2 percent. Washington (13.6 percent), Massachusetts (13.1 percent), Virginia (12.3 percent), and Colorado (12.0 percent) are at the high end of the spectrum. The concentration of state employment share in the high-tech sector is visible in the map, below.


Nationally, 10.7 percent of the population is employed in the manufacturing sector. Unlike high-tech employment, the state distribution for manufacturing employment is more balanced: 26 states are below the national mark and 25 states are above.

Employment in manufacturing as a share of overall employment was most concentrated in the Midwest. Specifically, Indiana (20.9 percent) and Michigan (20.4 percent) had the greatest concentrations. The concentration of state employment share in the manufacturing sector (with highlights showing the portion of manufacturing that is although within the high-tech sector) is visible in the map, below.


Despite the perceived importance of the manufacturing and high-tech sectors, no state has more than 26.0 percent of its citizens employed in these industries (Michigan). In three states, these sectors account for less than 10 percent of all employment (Hawaii, 6.0 percent; Wyoming, 8.0 percent; Nevada, 8.7 percent).

In 32 states, manufacturing employs more people than the high-tech sector, and the reverse is true for 18 states and D.C. However, there is overlap between these sectors in the form of high-tech manufacturing (e.g., aerospace manufacturing). If this portion is removed from the high-tech calculation, then 39 states have a higher employment base in manufacturing than in the remaining, service-oriented high-tech sector. The following chart depicts state-level employment in high-tech that is not manufacturing, high-tech manufacturing, and manufacturing that is not high-tech, as well as all other employment.


All data were accessed via IPUMS and are a random sample of 929,230 cases from the ACS five-year estimates for 2013-2017. Industries are ACS’s NAICS codes determined during the survey from respondents’ reports of their current job. For manufacturing, SSTI included all NAICS beginning with three. For “high tech,” SSTI used the categorization defined by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, excluding their use of federal government (for which they do not specify the NAICS codes). The following table illustrates the categorization of these codes.

Table. Sample NAICS by Sector.



Not High-Tech


  • Communications equipment manufacturing (3342)
  • Aerospace product and parts manufacturing (3364)
  • Dairy products (3115)
  • Sawmills and wood preservation (3211)

Not Manufacturing

  • Software publishers (5112)
  • Scientific research and development services (5417)
  • Logging (1133)
  • Legal Services (5411)


useful stats, manufacturing, employment