The cities that saw the largest percentage gains in employment were in the smaller markets. Huntsville, Ala. saw tech employment grow 2.4% last year to 36,000. That was an increase of about 900 jobs.
Tech wages in Huntsville increased, too, up 4% last year. That brought average tech salaries there to $74,747.
Kent Smith, director of research and information service for the Chamber of Commerce in Huntsville, which is in Madison County, attributed a major share of the employment increase to government spending. "Federal spending is about half of our local economy," said Smith, who noted that the Army has expanded in area as well. The region has numerous defense contractors, as well as commercial technology development in life sciences, he said.
Huntsville is also home to the Cummings Research Park, which Smith said is the second largest research park in the U.S. with some 25,000 employees. The largest is the Research Triangle Park between raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, N.C., which employs about 42,000.
Another area that did well in the Cybercities ranking was Oklahoma City, which saw tech employment rise by 5.4% in 2009 to 18,300, an addition of about 900 jobs.
Oklahoma City tech wages were $51,803, a decrease of 2.4%. Those wages were among the lowest identified in the report.
Roy Williams, president and CEO of Greater Oklahoma City Chamber, said the area has a low unemployment thanks to the energy business, bioscience, and aviation, with tech hiring across all industries. Boeing recently announced plans to relocate some operations from Long Beach, Calif. to Oklahoma City, which will add about 500 jobs.
Williams said that Oklahoma City and the state generally suffered a "depression" in the late 1980s that changed the business culture and helped the area avoid speculation in real estate and commercial properties. "We didn't get ourselves in the position of having too much inventory of everything."
Patrick Thibodeau covers SaaS and enterprise applications, outsourcing, government IT policies, data centers and IT workforce issues for Computerworld. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @DCgov or subscribe to Patrick's RSS feed . His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .
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