Indianapolis tech sector shows modest growth

June 24, 2008

It's still no Silicon Valley, but Indianapolis' high-tech economy enjoyed a modest expansion last year, according to the latest annual Cybercities report issued by the American Electronics Association.

The good news is that high tech employment grew in Indianapolis and surrounding counties last year, albeit by only 2 percent. The growth gave the region a total of 28,500 high-tech jobs, according to "Cybercities 2008: An Overview of the High-Technology Industry in the Nation's Top 60 Cities.

The bad news is, Indianapolis still ranks far from the top in every category the association measures. New York; Washington, D.C.; San Jose; Boston and Dallas were best.

Cybercities also said:

- Indianapolis scored best for its telecommunications services employment. the 6,200 jobs in the sector were enough to rank 31st.

- The city's 1,900 high-tech establishments were No. 35 in the nation.

- Indianapolis' 7,200 computer systems design and services jobs earned it the 37th rank.

- The city ranked 38th for high-tech jobs gained between 2005 and 2006, and for engineering services employment - a sector with 5,300 jobs locally.

- Indianapolis' total of 128,500 high-tech workers was 41st among the 60 largest U.S. cities.

- Their $1.8 billion total payroll was 44th in the nation.

- Indianapolis ranked 54th, or sixth-worst in the nation, for both high-tech wages and the proportion of high-tech jobs in its economy. On average, high-tech workers in Indianapolis earned $63,900. That's 54-percent higher than the city's average private wage for all professions.

Also, high-tech firms employed 39 out of every 1,000 private sectors. That's just under 4 percent of the area's workforce. In Silicon Valley, one in four people are employed by high-tech firms.

Don Brown, CEO of Interactive Intelligence Inc., Indianapolis' largest publicly-traded software firm, emphasized the positive side of the Cybercities report. He also called for more elementary and high school math and science education.

"The high-tech industry in Indianapolis has seen four straight years of growth and expansion," Brown said in a statement. "This significant growth can be attributed to our strong education in the K-12 system."

Brown said math scores in kindergarten through 12th grade are above average, but that the same excellence must be demanded from science education.

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