Automation Alley Releases Key Data on the State of Southeast Michigan's Technology Economy

TROY, Mich., Jan. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Automation Alley, a technology business association driving growth in Southeast Michigan's economy, today released data from its newly released Annual Technology Industry Report, prepared by the Anderson Economic...


TROY, Mich., Jan. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Automation Alley, a technology business association driving growth in Southeast Michigan's economy, today released data from its newly released Annual Technology Industry Report, prepared by the Anderson Economic Group. The report illustrates that while Automation Alley has not gone completely untouched by Michigan's struggling economy, there is hope for a brighter future, as companies are staying in Southeast Michigan and paying employees more than ever.

According to the report, from 2004 to 2005, Automation Alley experienced a 5.1 percent increase in the industry's average wage. These numbers suggest that the region is retaining, and even attracting, high-paying technology jobs. Life sciences and advanced manufacturing experienced the highest increases in wages, 6.7 percent and 6.2 percent respectively. While Automation Alley saw a 6.1 percent decline in technology industry employment, the number of establishments remained fairly steady, declining only 1.4 percent. This implies that employers continue to do business in Southeast Michigan and are in position to add staff as the economy rebounds.

"We have many programs in place today to help ease the transition from labor-intensive manufacturing to a knowledge-based technology industry -- from assisting in the commercialization of new technologies to helping small- and mid-size companies reach new global customers," said Ken Rogers , executive director, Automation Alley. "The good news is that although employers in Southeast Michigan may be cutting jobs, they are not giving up on the state. I fully expect the companies in Automation Alley will grow their staffs as the region's economy bounces back."

University Spending and Enrollment

The report highlights investment in research and development as a powerful and necessary force driving the region's technology success. The high-skilled jobs prevalent in the region require higher education, and the signs for the region are positive as enrollment in science and engineering graduate programs at Automation Alley universities remained high in 2005, which represents 77 percent of the total science and engineering graduate students in the state.

In addition, universities in the region have steadily increased their total research and development expenditures spending more than $1.05 billion in 2005, representing 72 percent of all university research and development expenditures made by Michigan universities.

"This year's report stresses the importance of our universities. In all three technology industry reports we have found Southeast Michigan's investment in university research and development exceeds $1 billion, signaling tremendous opportunity for growth in the region," said Patrick Anderson , principal and CEO, Anderson Economic Group. "The region's workforce has the know-how and the ability to diversify its industries, which is a necessary step in maintaining our leadership role in the global technology economy."

Research and development in sustainable technologies remains a focus in Automation Alley and a means for future growth. In 2007, the U.S. Department of Energy invited Lawrence Technological University to Washington, D.C., to compete in the Solar Decathlon. The international competition hosted student teams from 20 universities to design a completely energy self-sufficient 800-square-foot home with enough leftover power to power a plug-in hybrid vehicle. Lawrence Tech was the only university invited from Michigan and was also the smallest university to compete, further highlighting the talent pool residing in the region. The team's involvement is just one of the many signs that Southeast Michigan's future workforce possess both the interest and the ability needed to move the region forward.

Defense and Homeland Security

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