Tech Leads Oregon Recovery

The tech industry is leading Oregon out of the recession by adding jobs faster than the overall economy, and paying more than twice the state average, according to a new report from the state’s Employment Department.

Intel ChipsetTech salaries in the state average $94,000 a year and grew by 3.9 percent between 2011 and 2012. That compares with Oregon’s overall average salary of $44,300, which rose only 2.8 percent during the same period.

Meanwhile, tech employment hit 60,100 in July, the first month it had topped 60,000 in seven years. As of March, tech employment had grown 7.9 percent from the lowest point of the recession in 2009, while overall employment had rebounded just 4.3 percent.

Oregon Chips

Nearly one-third of employment is concentrated in semiconductor and electronic component manufacturing, the report notes.

Here are the top five sectors in the state, the number employed and the average wage:

  • Semiconductor and electronic component mfg: 27,917 workers / $124,405
  • Architectural and engineering services: 12,794 workers / $69,400
  • Computer systems design and related services: 11,955 workers / $89,131
  • Software publishers: 9,129 workers / $92.959
  • Wired telecommunications carriers: 5,820 workers / $63,214

Oregon also has a concentration of semiconductor workers that is nearly six times greater than the rest of the country. Part of that high concentration level is due to Intel, which employs 17,000 workers in the state and is undergoing a massive expansion in Hillsboro.

VCs Fuel Growth

Venture capitalists poured $86.1 million into Oregon startups in the first half of the year – the most during that period since 2007. The investments into these startups, in turn, fuels job growth, as these young companies have the cash to hire more employees.

In addition to the startups, a number of tech titans have branch offices in the state, including most recently eBay’s mobile team, and new outposts from Salesforce.com and application performance-monitoring firm New Relic.

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