The State of Technology in North Carolina

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techThe North Carolina Technology Association (NCTA) recently published the 2017 State of the Technology Industry Report providing interested stakeholders an in-depth review of North Carolina’s technology industry. The following blog post will provide a snapshot of the report that is available for download on NCTA’s site here.

The tech sector has been remarkably robust of late and has been a boon for the North Carolina economy. Not only was the average salary per tech worker $110,000 in 2015, it was almost twice the average salary for all industries in NC. The tech industry is estimated to make up approximately 20 percent of North Carolina’s economy in terms of employees, earnings, and sales. Another staggering figure to wrap your mind around is for every job created in the technology industry, another two jobs are supported across all industries are supported in NC, at least according to the North Carolina Technology Association (NCTA). The short- and long-term trends for North Carolina highlight the tremendous opportunity and growth that North Carolina has in store if the trends continue.

Source: 2017 State of the Technology Industry Report
Source: 2017 State of the Technology Industry Report

Four sub-sectors make up the tech sector: energy, environmental, life sciences, and information technology (IT). IT by far dominates the tech industry in terms of employment, establishments, and sales making up over 50 percent of the almost 240,000 tech employees. What is tech though more specifically? That last sentence included the 14th use of the word tech in this blog post so far (15 now), but the following table will hopefully illuminate this nebulous category of tech.


Comparison to other states

Despite higher growth in the tech sector across the United States, the proportion of tech to non-tech employees in North Carolina (6:94) is lower than other states studied in the report including California, Texas, and Virginia that are all at 8 percent or above. This potentially indicates that North Carolina’s economy is more diverse, yet even that tech proportion is still expected to grow indicating future job growth. Not only is that expected to grow, median hourly earnings for tech jobs adjusted for purchasing power ranks 7th in the country!

Room for Growth

Where there is room for growth in comparison to other states is research and development, patents, and the amount of venture capital funding providing financing for additional growth and start-ups in North Carolina. However, with North Carolina’s strength in higher education institutions, lower average in-state tuition, and high-speed broadband, there is room for optimism and continued growth rates. Even if the NCTA’s growth trends are too optimistic, the tech industry is likely here to stay as it has clearly grown and is still growing in North Carolina. 

Omar Kashef is a third-year graduate student seeking a dual-degree in Public Administration and Information Science and is currently a Fellow with the Development Finance Initiative.

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