From coast to coast, the tech sector in the United States saw healthy growth from 2010-2015. We recently wrote about where tech wages were growing the fastest. To expand on those insights, we analyzed the industry with this question in mind: which states have the quickest-growing tech sectors?
This analysis is part of our Tech by the Numbers series, in which we take a deeper look at the most interesting aspects of CompTIA’s Cyberstates 2016 report. In some instances, we complemented the report’s data with additional Emsi data to better highlight key takeaways.
Where Tech Sector Establishments and Jobs Are Growing
To rank each state, we created a composite score using establishment and job growth data from CompTIA’s Cyberstates 2016 report. Establishment growth received 40% weighting, while job growth received 60% to emphasize the importance of an establishment’s ability to attract and retain workers.
Five states saw composite growth north of 18% from 2010-2015, several of those building on a significant base of preexisting jobs and establishments. While we won’t cover them all here here, more than a third of the states grew beyond the national average of 12%.
The following are the top five states leading in tech sector growth:
1. North Dakota
North Dakota doesn’t have a particularly large number of tech establishments or workers. However, that could change quickly if its rapid growth continues. Likely due, at least in part, to the oil boom in the region, the tech sector grew nearly 24% from 2010-2015. While jobs grew by a healthy 14%, tech establishments really took off, resulting in 39% more establishments emerging over the five-year period.
- 2015 Establishments: 1,209
- 2015 Jobs: 13,166
Not only does Utah have high establishment growth (20%), tech jobs grew by 26% in six years (2010-2015). Combined, we get composite growth of 23.6%, which eclipses the national average of 13.6%. Utah may not have the largest tech sector in the United States, but it’s quickly growing and attracting major companies like Adobe to the state.
- 2015 Establishments: 5,972
- 2015 Jobs: 84,845
3. North Carolina
In 2010, North Carolina already had 154,000 tech jobs. By 2015, the state added over 35,000 new tech jobs (a 23% increase). While Utah and North Dakota have similar job growth rates, North Carolina’s growth is particularly impressive given that it’s building off of an already strong foundation of tech jobs and establishments. Combined with a 29% establishment growth rate, North Carolina saw some of the largest composite growth (23.3%) of any state from 2010-2015.
- 2015 Establishments: 15,531
- 2015 Jobs: 184,072
4. South Carolina
Perhaps sharing in North Carolina’s rising tech sector, South Carolina also saw impressive establishment growth (31%) from 2010-2015. That’s almost 1,500 new establishments in an area that only started with 4,500. With 16% tech job growth, South Carolina’s composite growth comes in at 21.9%—significantly higher than the national average of 12%.
- 2015 Establishments: 5,999
- 2015 Jobs: 60,437
The number of tech establishments and jobs in Delaware is greater than what you’ll find in North Dakota, but it’s still relatively small. However, continued rapid growth, like we’ve seen recently in establishments (27%) and jobs (14%), could change that quickly.
- 2015 Establishments: 2,446
- 2015 Jobs: 20,800
From 2010-2015, eight states saw growth of 4% or less. Alabama, Virginia, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and New Jersey endured particularly low growth and even faced serious loss of establishments or jobs. While the tech sector may seem to be growing universally, it’s a battle between each state to attract and retain both establishments and jobs.