Tom Henderson| Crain’s Detroit Business

The 2013 Technology Industry Report that Automation Alley, the Troy-based economic development organization, released today shows the Detroit region has made progress when benchmarked against 14 other high-tech hubs in the U.S.

Results of the report were discussed at a luncheon today at the Detroit Marriott in Troy.

Before the luncheon, Patrick Anderson, the principal and CEO of the Anderson Group, and Ken Rogers, the executive director at Automation Alley, discussed the report with Crain’s.

“We’re not a one-horse market here,” said Rogers. “We have to change how we see ourselves. This is one of the major centers for engineering in the world. There are 15 tech hubs in the U.S., and we’re a major player. We’re not a wannabe. We’re there.”

“The numbers look great this year,” said Anderson, whose firm has compiled the report for Automation Alley for nine years. “We’re in the first rank of tech centers around the country.”

According to the report:

  • Tech industry employment in metro Detroit is up 15 percent from the previous year’s study, while Silicon Valley shows a 4 percent drop.
  • Metro Detroit’s technology sector added more than 30,000 jobs, while Silicon Valley’s technology sector lost 10,000.
  • Schools in metro Detroit graduated more students in the areas of engineering and engineering technology than any other region in the study, with more science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) and computer-science graduates than Silicon Valley.
  • The region went from 22,093 jobs in life sciences in 2010 to 42,451 in 2011. The report didn’t explain the reasons for such an increase.
  • Michigan leads the U.S. in advanced automotive, with a concentration of employment in metro Detroit that is 6.5 times the national average. The area had 64,545 jobs in this sector in 2011, 9.7 percent of such jobs in the United States, up from 8.8 percent of such jobs in 2010.
  • The Detroit region was issued 2,817 utility patents in 2011, which was fifth nationally. Silicon Valley got 10,256.
  • In 2011, there were 242,520 tech-related jobs in the region, about 14.4 percent of the 1.68 million jobs here. In the U.S. as a whole, 9.1 percent of jobs are tech-related.
  • Detroit had the highest concentration of tech jobs in the Midwest and was second nationally to Silicon Valley.

The Detroit region, as defined by Automation Alley, includes the counties of Genesee, Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, St. Clair, Washtenaw and Wayne. It had a 2012 population of more than 4.6 million, which ranked it fourth of the 14 hubs, behind Chicago (9.5 million), Dallas-Fort Worth (7.6 million), Atlanta (5.5 million) and Boston (4.6 million).

The other hubs were centered on Pittsburgh; Cleveland; Cincinnati; Indianapolis; Grand Rapids; Minneapolis-St. Paul; Austin, Texas; Seattle; and the Silicon Valley region of San Jose-Santa Clara.

The report was compiled by the Lansing-based Anderson Economic Group LLC.

While it is the 2013 report, it is actually based on data that is older, including U.S. Census Bureau data from 2011, data compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2012 and education data compiled by the National Center for Education Statistics in the 2011-12 school year.

The report will be available at

Tom Henderson: (313) 446-0337, Twitter: @tomhenderson2

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