Ask anyone to name the country’s hotbed of tech-hiring activity, and chances are good they’ll say “California” or “New York,” homes of, respectively, Silicon Valley and Silicon Alley.
But according to a Dice analysis of data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, New York comes in sixth place, and California in eleventh, among the fastest-growing states for technology jobs. Texas comes in first, with a 5.99 percent increase in tech jobs since the beginning of the year, followed by Florida (5.64 percent), North Carolina (3.80 percent), Oregon (3.57 percent), and Washington (3.53 percent).
Although California lags when it comes to percentages, the state still managed to come in second (after Texas) with regard to most positions added in 2014. New York placed fourth on that list, after Florida and ahead of Massachusetts. California and New York already boast sizable tech communities, and the well-established companies in both states tend to hire in significant numbers—yet both states clearly have competition when it comes to attracting a tech workforce.
Although Texas has long attracted high-tech companies, the state has spent the past few years courting firms via aggressive tax breaks, manufacturing exemptions, and even a “data center incentive” that excuses companies from paying taxes on data-center components. Florida has likewise enjoyed a turnaround in tech-firm hiring and salaries over the past few years, perhaps due to its own incentives packages. States further down the BLS list, such as Utah (1 percent), market themselves to particular tech niches, including data centers and gaming.
What gives someplace the potential to become a major tech hub? According to a recent report from the Brookings Institution, it takes a lengthy list of factors, including physical assets such as office space and transportation, universities and startup accelerators to cultivate innovation, existing tech companies to monetize research, and amenities that encourage people to stay in a particular area. On a municipal level, New York City, Detroit, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and Raleigh-Durham have all launched major efforts, based on some or all of those principles, to encourage tech firms to take root in their localities. Based on this BLS data, it’s clear that communities across the country are following the same playbook.
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