PEORIA, Ill. -- When you think of technology, usually Peoria doesn't come to mind.
However, according to a study released on Thursday by Engine Advocacy, it should. Peoria was listed as the number three metropolitan area in the nation for high-tech employment growth from 2010-2011.
"When we talk about technology in the Greater Peoria Region, many people groan as if the words ‘technology’ and ‘Peoria’ don’t belong in the same sentence, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth," said Grant Brewen, CEO of Peoria NEXT. "This region has an amazing amount of technology and research activities happening and every day more and more ideas are put to the test. We have always been known as a manufacturing and agriculture focused-region, and the area had to accept the notion that it could also embrace technology commercialization and development to impact regional economic development."
Other key findings in the study include:
* Jobs in high tech industries exist almost everywhere, with 98 percent of U.S. counties home to at least one high tech business.
* Hubs of high tech employment can be found in unexpected places, including communities in the Midwest.
* Employment growth in the high tech sector has outpaced growth in the private sector by a ration of three-to-one since the dot-com bust's bottom in early 2004.
* High tech job growth is projected to outpace the job growth of the economy as a whole over this decade, expanding by 16.2 percent between 2011 and 2020.
* High tech workers earn 17 to 27 percent more than their peers in other industries, even when controlling for factors like age, gender, and education.