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In tech, most of N.C. stuck in the 20th century


In the Triangle, we enjoy what most of the rest of North Carolina does not: A growing high-tech economy—with associated growth in wages—and citizens with access to high-speed Internet.

The N.C. Department of Commerce and the N.C. Board of Science & Technology released their 2013 report measuring the health of the state's science and technology industries. The report tracks North Carolina's performance across 38 criteria and compares them with six states and the U.S.

For N.C. as a whole, the news is bad: The state ranks 24th in the nation in the innovation economy, due in part to educational deficits, poor access to high-speed Internet and a lack of high-tech opportunities in rural areas and smaller cities.

Some lowlights:

  • Nearly half of all high-tech companies are in just five counties—Mecklenburg, Wake, Guilford, Durham and Forsyth.

  • N.C.'s high-tech sectors pay wages above the national average, but most of the state's industries are not high-tech.

  • N.C. universities excel at academic research and development, but private-sector businesses do not.

  • The overall educational attainment of N.C. residents is below average. Expenditures on public education are well below the U.S. average.

Number of the 38 benchmarks in which N.C. is below average

Percentage of all business establishments in N.C. that are high-tech

Percentage of high-tech companies located in Wake

Percentage of high-tech companies located in Durham

Percentage of total employment that is high-tech

Percentage of North Carolinians with access to fiber Internet service at home

Percentage of population that subscribes to broadband, if they have access to it*

*As defined by 6 megabites per second (download)/ 1.5 megabites per second (upload), slightly higher than the FCC's target.

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