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Automation Alley Tech Survey Finds Region Stacks Up Well

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TROY — When it comes to high tech, southeast Michigan can hold its own with any famous technology region in the country.

As you might expect, Automation Alley’s 2012 Technology Industry Report finds the region is No. 1 in advanced automotive sector employment and number of advanced automotive business establishments among 15 high-tech regions analyzed.

But the region is also tops in architectural occupations, architectural and engineering industry employment, and in the number of engineering degrees completed at colleges and universities in the region.

In fact, for all the fretting about STEM education, metro Detroit is No. 3 in the total number of all science, technology, education and mathematics degrees completed at all institutions — 7,748 in 2009, the latest year available — trailing only Chicago and Boston.

The region is No. 4 in the percentage of total employment in the technology industry, at 12.4 percent, and fifth in the total number of jobs in tech sectors, 210,984. It’s also fifth in total number of technology industry establishments at 7,119, behind Chicago, Dallas-Ft.Worth, Atlanta and Boston.

The region also saw 2,783 utility patents granted in 2010, No. 6 nationally behind San Jose (10,074), Boston (4,330), Seattle (4,052), and narrowly losing to Chicago (2,933) and Minneapolis (2,827).

Automation Alley executive director Ken Rogers says he’ll use the report to indicate that southeast Michigan is a real player, “not a wannabee,” when it comes to technology leadership.

The study’s analysis was conducted by Lansing’s Anderson Economic Group LLC from figures publicly available from the United States Census, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the National Center for Education Statistics Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System and the U.S. Patent Office.

It studied businesses in advanced automotive, advanced manufacturing, chemical and material, IT, life sciences and other technology. And it studied employment in computer and math sciences, architecture and engineering, life, physical and social sciences, computer, information systems, engineering and natural science management.

The other innovation regions studied included Seattle, Wash.; San Jose-Santa Clara, Calif.; Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.; Austin, Texas; Dallas-Ft. Worth, Texas; St. Louis, Mo.; Chicago; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Indianapolis, Ind.; Cincinnati, Ohio; Cleveland, Ohio; Atlanta, Ga.; Pittsburgh, Pa.; and Boston, Mass.

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