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MI’s Tech Industry Still Growing, Automation Alley Report Finds

Xconomy Detroit/Ann Arbor — 

Southeast Michigan’s tech industry continued to grow in 2014, and tech job creation in the region appears to remain on the rise.

That’s according to Automation Alley, the Southeast Michigan business accelerator and association of technology professionals. The group announced the findings from its annual technology industry outlook today at a luncheon in downtown Detroit.

The data was compiled by East Lansing’s Anderson Economic Group, and it benchmarks metro Detroit against 14 other high-tech hubs across the nation—including San Jose, CA; Seattle; Austin, TX; Chicago; and Boston—in terms of job creation, business creation, innovation, and education. Automation Alley also uses the report as a tool for attracting talent and investment to the region.

When compared to the 14 national tech hubs, metro Detroit ranks first in the number of advanced automotive jobs, the number of engineering degrees earned, and the number of engineering and architectural jobs available. Southeast Michigan also ranks first in the Midwest in the concentration of high-tech jobs.

Metro Detroit ranks second in the Midwest for the number of utility patents issued and third in the Midwest for the number of technology establishments. The region ranks third nationally in the percentage of total employment in the technology industry, and in the number of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) degrees earned.

Some of the numbers represent an improvement from 2013. In that year’s report, metro Detroit was sixth in the number of utility patents issued and second in the number of engineering degrees earned. The only number that appeared to fall in 2014 was in the percentage of total employment in the tech industry—metro Detroit went from second in the nation to third.

“This report has the power to drive change in Southeast Michigan because it tells us who we really are as a region,” Automation Alley senior director Kelly Kozlowski said during the luncheon. “It makes it clear that we are one of the leading centers for technology and innovation in America.”

The full report will be available later today on the Automation Alley website.