The Greater Detroit region ranked at or near the top in technology employment, education and innovation in the latest report from Troy-based Automation Alley. The report will be released at the Technology Industry Outlook event Tuesday morning.
The technology business association’s report, From Rust to Resurgence: Detroit’s Regional Technology Economy, compares 15 regions across the country. The information used in the study was compiled by Lansing-based Anderson Economic Group LLC.
According to the report, the Greater Detroit region – based on a combination of the Detroit-Livonia-Warren metropolitan statistical area and the Ann Arbor MSA – ranked first in the nation in:
- – Advanced automotive sector employment
- – Number of people working in architectural and engineering occupations.
- – Number of engineering and engineering technology degrees completed at colleges and universities in the region.
The ranking on tech degrees is important, said Ken Rogers, executive director of Automation Alley, because there isn’t an adequate supply in this region.
“The demand is increasing, it’s not decreasing,” Rogers said. “This falls in line with our previous tech reports, (which) illustrates we’re a tech center.”
The Greater Detroit region ranked second out of the nine Midwest regions analyzed in the report for technology industry employment, with 210,984 jobs in 2010. That number represented 12.9 percent of the 1.63 million jobs in the region in that same year, compared with 6 percent of all jobs nationally belonging to the technology industry.
The region also is becoming a front-runner in technology innovation across the country.
Greater Detroit finished third nationally in the number of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) degree completions, and third for utility patents among the Midwest regions analyzed, both of which are clear indications of innovation.
“In terms of STEM, nothing can be more important,” Rogers said.
In 2010, there were 2,783 utility patents issued in the Greater Detroit region, placing it third among the Midwest regions analyzed in the report, following Chicago (2,933) and Minneapolis (2,827).
“The patent office that was brought here was to reduce the backlog,” Rogers said. “We think there’s plenty of activity in the future … and opportunity for innovation, much like what has happened in the past.”
The region generated 7,748 STEM degree completions during the 2008-09 school year, third highest among the 15 regions analyzed. Engineering and engineering technologies made up the largest proportion with 4,248 completions, or 9.3 percent, followed by computer and informational sciences (3.2 percent) and biological and biomedical sciences (2.7 percent).
The region also landed in the top half of the 15 regions for total technology occupation jobs, which are tech-related jobs at nontech employers, trailing only Chicago among the Midwest regions.
The 156,400 technology occupation jobs in the region made up 8.2 percent of jobs in the region in 2011. Only 5.7 percent of all jobs nationally are in a technology occupation.
Rogers said now that the economy is turning around, it’s indicative that local scientists and engineers will continue to find more opportunities to work together.
“We have a new face in Southeast Michigan, and it’s one that’s based on technology,” he said “The numbers tell you that.”
Regions selected for the report are all centers for population and industry similar to the Greater Detroit region, with some chosen based on relative location. Other regions included Chicago, Boston and Atlanta.
The Technology Industry Outlook event, which is free and open to the public, is 7:30-9 a.m. Tuesday at Automation Alley headquarters, 2675 Bellingham, Troy.
The nonprofit Automation Alley was founded in 1999 to promote technology in the region. It has nearly 1,000 member businesses and institutions in Detroit and the surrounding eight counties in Southeast Michigan.
Ryan Felton, Crain’s Detroit Business.