The technology industry is an increasingly healthy part of North Carolina’s economy, according to a new report published by the N.C. Technology Association.
The group recently released its annual North Carolina State of Technology Industry Report
. Data used in the report, drawn largely from 2015, analyzes four subsectors: energy technology, environmental technology, life sciences technology and information technology. In 2015, these subsectors combined employed more than 239,000 people and were worth $82 billion in sales revenue, according to the report.
Randall Johnson, executive director of N.C. Biotechnology Center’s Southeastern Office, said he found the report’s results consistent with what his organization observes in the life sciences subsector in southeastern North Carolina.
“In the region’s clinical research industry cluster, we are seeing an increase in the number of companies represented here, as well as an increase in the number of southeastern residents employed by clinical research companies,” he said. “In partnership with UNCW, we will soon announce several new tools and initiatives to support the region’s clinical research industry cluster workforce.”
The report also found that North Carolina ranks first nationally in percentage of its tech workforce made up of women.
“While we have been instrumental in connecting more women with technology career opportunities, we have also noticed that there are also many more female entrepreneurs in the technology sector,” said Emilyanne Atkinson, CEO of the Wilmington-based Cape Fear Women in Tech group.
Other key findings from the report
- North Carolina ranks third in overall tech employment growth;
- Of all North Carolina’s sales revenues, 20 percent is generated by the tech industry;
- Between 2010 and 2015, North Carolina ranked first among all 50 states in IT sector employment growth. That rate, at nearly 28.5 percent, was double the national average.
Overall, the state report concluded, the technology industry accounted directly for 5.8 percent of the total jobs in North Carolina but about 11 percent of total wage earnings and sales.
“For comparison, health care and social assistance and construction industries make up for 12% and 5% of the state’s employment respectively,” the report stated. “In 2015, there were over 18,000 technology establishments operating in North Carolina, an increase of 1,000 from estimates in the previous State of Technology Industry report.”
Johnson said he thinks industrial biotechnology is an area that could continue to grow in the region and the state.
“The waste-to-energy – industrial biotech – projects we’re helping to commercialize in the region are the nexus of the biotechnology and renewable energy sectors that we’ve been building toward for years in the southeastern region,” he said. “I expect to see significant growth in the industrial biotech sector in our region and across the state over the next five years, especially as we capitalize on the anticipated growth of the food processing sector, which could provide inputs for the waste-to-energy industry.”