% of Workers Employed in Advanced Industries


What is this measure? The Brookings Institute identified 50 industries that are Research and Development (R&D) and STEM-worker intensive. This is broader than just "tech" companies: it includes advanced manufacturing, bio-pharma and others. This number represents the share of total workers who are employed in these Advanced Industries.

Why do we track this? Companies in the Advanced Industries sector spur innovation, generate new intellectual property and products and are responsible for an outsized proportion of U.S. total Exports and GDP. These industries provide economic benefits for regions and the nation as a whole that originate from technological advances as well as employing highly skilled workers in jobs that provide good wages.

The Brookings Institute estimates that each job in this sector has a multiplier effect that creates 2.2 additional jobs for every in-sector position. 36% of those new jobs are local.

Having these industries within a region can be a significant boost to the local economy. However, it is important to note that this represents only the private industry efforts related to advanced industries. For example, universities, such as Colorado State University in Fort Collins, also help to drive innovation and support significant R&D, but those employees are not counted here.
A regional economy characterized as particularly innovative or resilient should have some amount of advanced industry employment, but it is difficult to dictate a precise ideal amount, and these need to be seen in the context of other regional strengths and prevailing conditions. A particularly high or low value may not be "good" or "bad". Change over time can signal some greater insight into the changing economy and future workforce needs -- are these industries growing at a faster rate than overall employment growth? Will additional skilled workers be needed soon?
This chart shows the relative share of jobs in advanced industry versus total jobs over time. A decrease only means that advanced industry jobs are a smaller share of total jobs; it does not necessarily indicate a decline in jobs.
Because these industries generally represent a small portion of companies in each county, the addition or subtraction of a single large company or a single expansion or contraction of a company can make a noticeable change to advanced industry jobs.

Data Sources

Related Dashboard Measures

Additional Information and Other Data Sources