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Georgia edges up to 11th in U.S. tech worker ranks

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Georgia edges up to 11th in U.S. tech worker ranks

11th in tech, 6th in software publishing, 5th in telecom.


The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Despite a loss of 14,000 jobs from Georgia's high-tech work force from 2001 to 2002, the state moved from 12th to 11th in the national rankings for high-tech employment, according to an American Electronics Association report.

The study said Georgia lost 7 percent of its high-tech work force, ending 2002 with 180,488 in that field. Since the national job loss rate was higher, at 10 percent, Georgia edged past Colorado to reach the 11th spot.

Georgia also moved from ninth to sixth in the software publishing category, with 40,400 jobs, and stayed in fifth place in the nation for telecommunications employment, with 72,900 jobs.

High-tech workers in the state are also well-paid, making an average of $64,000 a year. That's 79 percent higher than the state's average wage in the private sector, according to the study. The national average for high-tech workers was $66,300.

The state sagged badly in one area. Venture capital investments in Georgia for 2002 totaled $564 million, a 38 percent drop from the $909 million invested in 2001.

High-tech exports for the state were $2.4 billion in 2002 and represented 17 percent of Georgia's total exports.

Gov. Sonny Perdue, quoted by the survey, said that "while we lost some jobs last year, our technology industry was stronger than many other states. ... The high-tech industry is important to Georgia's economic development as it represented $12.4 billion in payroll for tech workers."

Randy Keith, chairman of the AeA's Southeast Council, called the report "both encouraging and a bit disappointing. The fact that Georgia moved up one place to another state sustaining a bigger loss is a bit like kissing your sister."

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That is an interesting statistic. Atlanta, Ga, and much of the SE in general are known for being the location of many new economy companies. And as the salaries above indicate, the South is hardly growing simply because of low paid workers.

This is true, there are certainly a lot of good jobs in Atlanta and throughout the south. But as good of a picture as this presents, it should also be stated that much of Atlanta's current job boom is in lower payer service section jobs, not high tech or high paying.

But Atlanta has been a technology center (not biggest, but certainly large) for some time and it's good to see that trend continuing.

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