Michigan Bucks National Trend on Tech Jobs

A new report on the U.S. high-tech industry finds that it is Michigan - the state most commonly associated with an exodus of jobs over the last decade - that is making the biggest gains in high-tech employment.

The TechAmerica Foundation's annual survey, Cyberstates 2011 , finds that Michigan gained 2,700 high-tech positions between 2009 and 2010, even as the United States lost 116,000 high-tech jobs, or 2 percent, during that period. Michigan was boosted by new jobs in R&D and software publishing, among other strong sectors.

"The fact that Michigan added more tech jobs in 2010 than any other state may surprise people — including people within the state," Ed Longanecker, a TechAmerica representative for the Midwest, said in a press release. "But job gains in key sectors like software and research and development have helped the state recover from hard economic times.  We hope to maintain this momentum by promoting math and science education in our schools and a business friendly environment in our economy."

According to the study, only seven states and the District of Columbia gained high-tech jobs between 2009 and 2010, with D.C. ( 1,400), West Virginia ( 400), Utah ( 400) and South Carolina ( 300) rounding out the top five behind Michigan.

Overall, Virginia leads the nation in proportional high-tech employment, followed by Massachusetts and Colorado. About 9.8 percent of Virginia's private-sector workforce is in the tech industry, leading the nation for the sixth consecutive year.

High-tech jobs are attractive for states and potential employees because they pay much more than other jobs - 93 percent more than the average salary in the private sector, according to TechAmerica. In Virginia, the average salary for high-tech jobs is $95,900.

The study analyzes data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.