Friday, July 11, 2008

AeA Releases 2008 Cybercities Report on State of Nation’s High Tech Economy

Central Ohio is leading the state in many key high tech economic indicators according to a recent Cybercities 2008 report released by AeA (formerly the American Electronics Association). Ohio, which the report says is often overlooked as a high tech hub is home to three of the nation’s top 60 cybercities – Columbus, Cleveland and Cincinnati*. Central Ohio leads the state in many key indicators including the total number of high tech jobs in the region, the average high tech wage, total payroll and many other statistics.

According to the report, 54 of every 1,000 private sector workers in Central Ohio are employed by high tech firms which results in Columbus ranking 35th in the nation in high tech employment concentration. By comparison Cleveland reports 35 of every 1,000 workers as being employed by high tech firms while Cincinnati shows 34 of every 1,000 – ranking them as 56th and 57th respectively.

Although the number of high tech jobs in Columbus decreased 14 percent from 2001 to 2006; that statistic is beginning to trend upward with a two percent increase (900 jobs) from 2005 to 2006. Furthermore, it is indicative of trends across the nation as the industry continues to recover from the bursting of the high tech bubble. For instance, the New York metro, which was the top cybercity by employment, saw nearly an 18 percent drop in high tech jobs from 2001 to 2006. However, from 2005 to 2006, like Columbus, New York also experienced a two percent growth.

But what is encouraging about this job growth is the economic impact high tech jobs have on the region. According to the report, in Columbus, the wage differential between high tech wages as compared to all private sector jobs is 74 percent. The average private sector wage was reported as $40,700 while the average high tech wage was $70,900.

The leading high tech sectors by concentration in the Columbus metro include computer systems design and related services reporting 15,700 jobs; telecommunications services with 6,700 jobs and R&D and testing labs with 5,900 jobs.

Columbus outperformed Cleveland and Cincinnati on almost all key industry statistics except in the total number of high tech establishments. While Cleveland and Cincinnati have 2,280 and 2,074 high tech establishments respectively, Columbus reports 1,920. When taken into context with the total number of jobs in each of these metro areas (Columbus: 40,718, Cleveland 31,624 and Cincinnati 30,207) this may simply indicate that Columbus has fewer, but larger high tech establishments (think Battelle, OCLC, etc.). A trend it holds in common with San Jose/Silicon Valley which ranks only 12th nationwide by high tech establishments due to the sheer size of many of the high tech companies operating there.

The report studied the nation’s largest metropolitan statistical areas with respect to high tech jobs, wages, payroll, high tech establishments, industry sectors and high tech concentration within each of these 60 “cybercities.” The report further broke the nation down into regions with Ohio being included in the Midwest region along with Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Oklahoma, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. What is interesting to note is that out of those 13 states, 12 cities were deemed to be cybercities with three of those located in Ohio – more than any other state in the region. Among cities within the Midwest, Columbus ranked sixth both in terms of high tech employment and high tech wages. .

The full report is available for download at a cost of $125 for AeA members and $250 for non-members. For more information on the Cybercities 2008 report, visit

* For the purposes of this study:

The Columbus metro area includes Delaware, Fairfield, Franklin, Licking, Madison, Morrow, Pickaway and Union counties.

The Cleveland metro is considered Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain and Medina counties.

The Cincinnati metro encompasses Brown, Butler, Clermont, Hamilton and Warren counties in Ohio; Dearborn, Franklin and Ohio counties in Indiana; and Boone, Bracken, Campbell, Gallatin, Grant, Kenton and Pendleton counties in Kentucky.


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