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May 2004, Vol. 127, No. 5
Employment and wage outcomes for North Carolina's high-tech workers
During the 1990s, North Carolina experienced a large employment increase in certain industries classified as high-tech. As a result, many economic planners have focused on these industries as a means of providing high-paying employment to workers displaced from declining industries, such as textiles, furniture, and apparel.
From what industries are new high-tech employees drawn? How large are the replacement wages of these workers?1 The answers to these questions provide valuable insights to State planners who decide which industries receive subsidies and to those who evaluate the success of such programs. In addition, results could be used as a comparison to the results obtained from economic simulation software, which are used in many economic impact studies.2
How data were obtained
The methodology involved choosing growing companies in key high-tech industries that had considerable employment in North Carolina in 2000. What are "high-tech" companies? There is no official definition. In general, these are companies that utilize the latest technology in their production or are involved in creating new technology. They have variously been chosen based on the percentage of research and development spending, the proportion of scientists and researchers employed, number of new patents, and so forth. This article uses the three-digit Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) industries highlighted by Paul Hadlock and others in 1991.3
The employer data are from the North Carolina Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) program. Also known as the ES202, this program is a cooperative effort between the Bureau of Labor Statistics and each State. The QCEW data also are linked longitudinally from 1990 through the most recently available quarter, providing a comprehensive and accurate source of business employment and wage data. The employer-reported wage records, which also come from the ES-202, list each employee and total wages paid during the quarter. Combining these existing administrative files with the longitudinal QCEW allows accurate and comprehensive analyses by industry and county for most employers.
This excerpt is from an article published in the May 2004 issue of the Monthly Labor Review. The full text of the article is available in Adobe Acrobat's Portable Document Format (PDF). See How to view a PDF file for more information.
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1 The term replacement wage is defined, generally, as the ratio of wages on the new job to wages on the previous job. The specific definition of the wages used in this report is described further in the article.
2 For an example of an incentive impact study, see Michael I. Luger, "2001 Assessment of the William S. Lee Tax Act," (Office of Economic Development, Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2001).
3 Paul Hadlock, Daniel Hecker, and Joseph Gannon, "High technology employment: another view," Monthly Labor Review, July 1991, pp. 2630.
Related BLS programs
Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages
in high-technology industries, 1988-96.June
High technology employment: another view.July 1991.
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