High Tech Industry Report

Posted on 07/05/2023 by Beverly Kerr

  • Nearly 9,800 employers in the Austin metro area are in high tech industries in 2022.
  • Jobs in Austin’s tech industries total 195,879, or 16.3% of all jobs, compared to 9.0% nationally.
  • In 2022, jobs in Austin’s tech industries grew by 9.8%, while the metro’s total jobs increased by 8.5%.
  • Austin’s share of national jobs in tech industries has steadily grown over the last decade.

Annual average employment in high tech industries in the Austin MSA in 2022 was 195,879, up by 17,528 or 9.8% from 2021. Job growth for all industries was 8.5%, up from 3.9% in 2021. Despite COVID-19, Austin saw 3.5% growth in high tech jobs in 2020. Nationally, employment in tech industries grew 5.9% in 2022, following 3.1% growth in 2021 and a 0.4% contraction in 2020.

Over the last five years, employment in tech industries has grown by 34.5%, compared to 21.9% for all industries in Austin. Over the last ten years, the gain for tech (63.6%) also surpasses the gain for all industries (47.7%). Growth of Austin’s tech sector outpaces tech growth nationally, which was 14.7% over the last five years and 22.4% over the last decade.

Tech industries represent 16.3% of jobs in the Austin MSA, compared to 9.0% nationally. Austin has a location quotient (LQ) of 1.81 for the collection of industries making up tech, meaning that Austin employs workers in tech industries at just under two times the national rate. Industry LQs are calculated by comparing the industry’s share of regional employment with its share of national employment. Dividing 16.3 by 9.0 yields an LQ of 1.81. A decade ago, Austin’s tech industries LQ was 1.76. Over that period, Austin has also steadily increased its share of all U.S. jobs in tech industries from 1.1% in 2012 to 1.5% in 2022.

New industry data through the final quarter of 2022 was recently released by the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) produces much finer industry detail than the monthly Current Employment Statistics program and allows users to examine distinct and narrow sectors like computer systems design or scientific R&D at the metro or even the county level. Since Austin is one of the most technology intensive metro economies in the U.S., we regularly examine new releases of QCEW to quantify the character and trends of Austin’s tech sector. For this look at the composition and current trends of Austin’s tech sector, this article aggregates individual tech industries into several groupings—manufacturing; energy; trade; information and other IT; and engineering, R&D, labs/testing and other.[1]

There are 9,789 high tech employer firms in Austin. The number of tech firms grew by 782 or 8.7% in 2022. Total firms in Austin number 62,964 in 2022, up 3,213 or 5.4% over 2021. Over the last five years, the number of firms has grown 51.6% in tech industries compared to 30.2% overall. Tech firms account for 15.5% of all firms in 2022, up from 13.4% five years ago and 12.7% ten years ago. Among Austin's tech firms, 5.7% (556) are manufacturers and 94.3% (9,232) are in nonmanufacturing industries.

Tech payrolls in 2022 totaled $29.7 billion, or 30.2% of the Austin metro’s total payroll of $98.5 billion. Total payroll growth in 2022 was 13.8%, while the gain for tech industries was 9.6%. Tech payrolls have the edge over the last five years, gaining 79% compared to all payrolls gain of 68%. Over the last decade, tech payrolls are up 145% compared to 133% for all payrolls.

For all industries, the average annual salary in Austin is $82,127, up 4.9% from 2021, while the average salary for tech jobs is $151,873, down 0.2%.

Since 2017, the all-industries average annual salary is up 37.5% and the average tech salary is up 33.0%. Over the last decade, the average salary is up 58.0% overall and 49.5% in the tech sector. In 2006, before the Great Recession, the average tech salary was 201% of the average salary. The average tech salary registered what was a post-dot-com recession low of 186% of the all-industries salary in 2014, attained 196% in 2019, but has fallen to 185% in 2022.

Austin’s tech employment is 22.6% in manufacturing industries (44,234 jobs) and 77.4% in nonmanufacturing industries (151,645 jobs). Jobs in tech manufacturing gained 9.6% in 2022 while nonmanufacturing tech jobs gained 9.9%.

Manufacturing’s share of Austin’s tech jobs has declined significantly over the long term. Before the Great Recession, manufacturing accounted for over a third of Austin’s tech jobs and before the dot-com recession, the share was over half. Tech’s share of all manufacturing jobs in Austin is 63.6% in 2022, up from 62.8% in 2021. Tech’s share of all manufacturing has averaged 63% since the dot-com recession, but in the decade preceding, the share was about 69%. Nationally, tech’s share of manufacturing jobs is 26.9% in 2022.

Computer and electronic product makers (236 firms) dominate Austin’s tech manufacturing jobs (30,479 or 68.9%). Of those jobs, 15,946 are in semiconductor and electronic components and 8,885 jobs are in computers and peripheral equipment. Pharmaceuticals and medicines manufacturers (42 firms) employ 2,402 and medical equipment and supplies manufacturers (74 firms) employ 1,615.

Austin has an LQ of 1.6 for the collection of industries making up tech manufacturing, meaning that Austin employs workers in the sector at over one-and-a-half times the national rate. Austin’s computer and electronics manufacturing industry employs workers at over 3.5 times the national rate. However, within that industry grouping, computer and peripheral equipment manufacturing has an LQ of 6.9 and semiconductor manufacturing has an LQ of 5.2.

Salaries are higher in tech manufacturing, $157,025, compared to the average of $150,370 in nonmanufacturing tech industries. In Austin’s tech sector, manufacturing salaries have gained 23.2% over the last five years, while the nonmanufacturing average has risen 36.8%. Over the same period, the average salary for all industries rose 37.5%. Over the last year, salaries in tech manufacturing fell 1.6%, and tech nonmanufacturing gained 0.2%, while the average salary for all industries gained 4.9%.

Nonmanufacturing tech industries include subsectors of trade, information, professional and business services, and education and healthcare.

The tech portions of the information industry include software publishers (579 Austin firms); motion picture and sound recording, excluding motion picture exhibition (394); telecommunications (137); computing infrastructure providers, data processing, web hosting, and related services (467); media streaming distribution services, social networks, and other media networks and content providers (100); and web search portals and all other information services (33).[2] Other information technology (IT)-related industries include computer systems design and related services (4,530 firms) in the professional and business services sector and computer training (52) in the education sector.

Combined, “tech information and other IT” accounts for 6,290 firms and 93,809 jobs in Austin in 2022. Jobs in this group of industries are up 10.7% (9,085) over the last year, dominating the net jobs added (13,672) by nonmanufacturing tech industries in 2022. Computer systems design and related services employs 57,974 and grew by 20.1%, or 9,723 jobs, in 2022. Software publishing (11,319 jobs) and computing infrastructure providers, data processing, web hosting, and related services (11,139 jobs) also saw fast growth, 18.8% and 17.5% respectively.

Austin has an LQ of 2.5 for the group of industries we’re calling tech information and other IT, meaning that Austin employs workers in the sector at more than two times the national rate. Computing infrastructure providers, data processing, web hosting, and related services is the sector with the largest LQ (3.0) in this grouping.

The average annual salary in tech information and other IT was $157,709 in 2022, with media streaming distribution services, social networks, and other media networks and content providers being the best compensated industry ($195,786). While the average salary decreased 0.6% in 2022, the industry group gained 38.4% over the last five years, topping the 37.5% increase for all industries.

Historically, after computer systems design and related services, the next largest nonmanufacturing tech industry in Austin has been computer/computer peripherals and software merchant wholesalers. In 2020, this industry represented 168 firms and 20,737 jobs in Austin. In 2021, there were 176 firms, but employment fell to 12,587.[3] Jobs grew by 7.2% to 13,494 in 169 firms in 2022. This industry, together with medical equipment merchant wholesalers make up the high tech trade grouping of 315 firms and 15,683 jobs. The average annual salary is $156,840 in 2022, up 1.3% from 2021.[4]

Because of the 2021 drop in computer/computer peripherals and software merchant wholesalers employment, Austin has 33.2% fewer tech trade jobs in 2022 than it had 10 years ago, while jobs in the sector nationally are up by 27.4%. The driver of job growth nationally has been medical, dental and hospital equipment and supplies. This industry has grown 56.9% over the decade, while computer and software merchant wholesaler jobs have increased only 2.9%.

Austin remains concentrated in tech trade. Austin has nearly four times the national concentration of jobs in this group and has an LQ of 7.3 in computer and software merchant wholesaling.

Tech energy (oil and gas extraction and electric power generation, transmission and distribution) is the smallest tech grouping in Austin with 123 firms employing 6,199 in 2022. Oil and gas extraction presently only accounts for 596 jobs, and growth has been negative over the last year, the last five years, and the last decade. Oil and gas’ average annual salary, $293,016, is the highest within tech.

Architectural and engineering services (1,474 firms), environmental consulting services (106), other scientific and technical services (374), scientific R&D services (338), medical and diagnostic laboratories (98), electronic and precision equipment repair and maintenance (112), and national security and international affairs (4) round out the remainder of the tech sector. This grouping employed 35,954 in 2022, up 10.4% from 2021 and up 46.1% since 2017. Architectural and engineering services employs 21,070 of the total, while scientific R&D employs 5,769. Austin’s LQ for this grouping we're calling "engineering, R&D, labs/testing and other services" is 1.1. Perhaps not surprising given the concentration of tech manufacturing in Austin, electronic and precision equipment and repair has the highest LQ (1.9) within the grouping.

An Excel file of TWC and BLS data for Austin MSA establishments, firms, employment, payrolls, and average salary data for 1990-2022 for all of the high tech industry classifications referenced above, plus data for other major industry is here. The file opens on an extract of the Austin data for tech industries as employed in this article. The second tab in the file contains national employment data from the BLS for 2009-2022 for tech industries. The third tab in the file contains computations Austin location quotients for tech industries. The last two tabs in the file contain Austin data for major industry sectors for reference. The data in the file is “total,” i.e., representing private and public employers.


  1. QCEW estimates are derived primarily from the reporting of private business and government agencies under the unemployment insurance program. While all states produce similar data from the program, how much of the data different states publish in terms of industry detail, periods published, and geographic regions reported varies. TWC’s data begins in 1990. For Austin in 2022, estimates are published for over 1,300 industry classifications. The U.S. BLS also publishes a database of QCEW data for all U.S. counties, metros and states, however, the level of industry detail available for sub-state geographies is often more limited than desirable for estimating the tech sector, hence the omission of metro comparisons from this article.
  2. Note that revisions to the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) took effect in 2022. Classifications were eliminated, created, and redefined. Data through 2021 are based on the previous edition(s) of the manual, so there are series breaks and transitions between 2021 and 2022. Previously, there were classifications for “publishing except internet” and “internet publishing.” With the 2022 edition of the NAICS manual, this distinction for publishing industries does not exist. For example, the old NAICS 51913 (internet publishing and broadcasting and web search portals) no longer exists. Firms and jobs in this industry are now in three new industries: 5131 (newspaper, periodical, book, directory and greeting card publishers), 51621 (media streaming distribution services, social networks, and other media networks and content providers), and 51929 (web search portals and all other information services). We didn’t elect to group the new 5131 class with “high tech” in 2022 totals, although it would partially include firms and jobs that were included through 2021.
  3. This 39.3% drop in employment in computer/computer peripherals and software merchant wholesalers is of course extraordinary. Probably, at least in part, the drop represents a revision of the industry classifications assigned to a subset of employers. While this dataset offers much in industry detail and other features, it is based on administrative records and TWC and BLS do not revise historical data to control for transitions such as a correction to a reporting entity’s industry classification.
  4. Wholesale and retail trade represent another set of classifications impacted by the revisions to the NAICS manual discussed previously. The distinction between internet and non-internet business has been eliminated. The business-to-business electronic markets businesses in wholesale trade and the electronic shopping and mail-order houses segment of retail trade have been absorbed into other existing trade classifications. Rather than include the internet-based series through 2021, we’ve trimmed high tech trade to computing and medical-related merchant wholesalers.

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