The number of jobs in Illinois' technology industry grew 1.6 percent in
2012, just outstripping the rate for the national tech sector, according to a
new report from the TechAmerica Foundation.
The foundation, which is the nonprofit arm of U.S. industry group TechAmerica, said in its annual Cyberstates report that Illinois' tech sector added 3,361 jobs in 2012, with the total workforce numbering 209,776 people. This represented an increase of 1.6 percent. Despite growth in the last several years, the number of Illinois tech workers remains below 2008 levels, when the group numbered 219,637.
The country's tech sector as a whole added 67,400 jobs in 2012 for a total of 5.95 million workers, an increase of 1.1 percent.
The size of Illinois' tech workforce made it the eighth largest "cyberstate" in 2012. Illinois has held the No. 8 position in TechAmerica's ranking since 2009, and the top 10 have remained largely unchanged in the last four years, with California, Texas and New York taking the lead spots.
The Cyberstates report covers all 50 states, as well as Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. The report derives data for full-year 2012 from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers covering the first two quarters of 2012.
According to the latest report, the Illinois tech industry accounted for 4.4 percent of the state's private sector in 2012. This compares to a national rate of 5.4 percent.
The data showed that tech workers both across the country and in Illinois collect much higher compensation than the average for private-sector workers. In Illinois, the average annual wage in the tech industry was $87,223, compared with $50,823 for the private sector. This differential in pay was even more pronounced at the national level, where tech workers made an average of $93,772 versus $47,404 for private sector workers.
The $87,223 in average annual wages for Illinois tech workers was an increase of 1.1 percent from 2011.
In Illinois, Gov. Pat Quinn and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel have been boosters of the tech industry, particularly the growing number of startups working out of Chicago, because they see the sector as a magnet for talent and a creator of high-quality jobs.
Earlier this month, Quinn and Emanuel made appearances at 1871, the co-working tech hub for digital startups at the Merchandise Mart that opened last year. The hub, which is run by the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center, said that the roughly 200 startups at 1871 created 800 jobs during its first year of operations. The figure includes full- and part-time positions, as well as temporary workers and interns. The startups at 1871 also plan to hire 1,342 people over the next 12 months.
The companies at 1871 mostly build Web and mobile applications. According to the Cyberstates report, Internet and telecommunications services accounted for 51,478 jobs in Illinois last year, making the state sixth in the country.
The report showed that Illinois is strong in technology manufacturing compared with its peers. The state is third in the country for consumer electronics manufacturing with 1,109 jobs, fourth for electronic components manufacturing with 11,977 jobs and fifth in communications equipment manufacturing with 5,675 jobs.
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