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High-Technology Industries


High-technology activities by definition are innovative activities. While innovation occurs in many other industries, no accepted definition of innovative industries exists.

Various definitions of high technology have been created. The definition used here is based on definitions created by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the American Electronics Association, and Carnegie Mellon University. It consists of the following industries, industry groups, and subsectors (the latest North American Industry Classification System code is included in parentheses).

High-technology manufacturing activities:

  • pharmaceutical and medicine (3254)
  • optical instruments and lenses (333314)
  • computer and peripheral equipment (3341)
  • communications equipment (3342)
  • audio and video equipment (3343)
  • semiconductor and other electronic components (3344)
  • navigational, measuring, electromedical, and control instruments (3345)
  • aerospace products and parts (3364)

Service activities:

  • commercial equipment merchant wholesalers (4234)
  • software publishers (5112)
  • telecommunications (517)
  • data processing, hosting, and related (5182)
  • Internet publishing and broadcasting and web search portals (51913)
  • Engineering services (54133)
  • testing laboratories (54138)
  • computer systems design and related (5415)
  • scientific research and development (5417)
Data Source: 

U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, County Business Patterns The annual data are released about 18 months after the end of a year.

Data Quality Comments: 

The employment figure is as of the week of March 12 and includes part-time as well as full-time employees. For Arizona, some of the employment figures for component industries of the high-technology measure have to be estimated due to the data being withheld by the federal government.

iconHigh-Technology Employment as a Percentage of Total Private-Sector Employment in Arizona, as Defined by Industry

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Visualization Notes:

As defined by industry, high-technology employment in Arizona historically was a substantially greater share of private-sector employment than the national average. However, between March 2001 and March 2007, the share in Arizona fell appreciably compared to only a small drop nationally. High technology’s share of the Arizona economy was barely higher than the national average in 2007.

Between March 2007 and March 2010, total private-sector employment fell substantially nationally and by an even greater extent in Arizona, due to the economic recession. High-tech employment also dropped nationally and in Arizona, but not nearly as much as in other sectors of the economy. Thus, high-tech employment as a share of the total private sector rose between 2007 and 2010 nationally and in Arizona. The greater gain in share in Arizona was in part due to the weakness of the rest of the economy and partially due to the stronger performance of its high-tech industries.

Data Source

U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, County Business Patterns The annual data are released about 18 months after the end of a year.