News of new Indiana technology jobs (See Bell Techlogix story on Inside Indiana Business.) got me thinking about technology sector growth and Governor Daniels' statement about Central Indiana having become a national leader in IT made me wonder … "Do people really believe this or it is just coast envy and wishful thinking?"

In my role at TechPoint, Indiana's technology growth initiative, I see first hand that many knowledge-based, tech sector IT and other technology companies are growing, starting and thriving in Indiana. It seems to me that the Governor is right to call us a "national leader."

Similar geographic locations on the coasts, however, are formidable foes who have many more tech sector companies and employees than our burgeoning Midwest technology industry.

Very little data exists which would support any claim, good or bad, about the Indiana tech sector. But there is one metric from TechAmerica's Cyberstates Report that makes me believe we may have a leg up on the rest of the country. While every other state saw the same large job losses during the great recession in 2007 2008 and 2009, Indiana was still gaining jobs. Indiana did finally lose 300 jobs in 2010, but the trend since then has been a net gain of jobs for the Indiana tech sector.

More TechAmerica data points:

What Does High Tech Mean for Indiana?

  • 70,300 high-tech workers in 2010 (23rd ranked cyberstate)
  • 300 jobs lost between 2009 and 2010
  • High-tech firms employed 31 of every 1,000 private sector workers in 2010, ranked 43rd nationwide
  • High-tech workers earned an average wage of $61,800 (41st ranked), or 62 percent more than Indiana’s average private sector wage
  • A high-tech payroll of $4.3 billion in 2010, ranked 24th nationwide
  • 6,200 high-tech establishments in 2010, ranked 20th nationwide

Indiana’s National Industry Sector Rankings:

  • 5th in consumer electronics manufacturing employment with 700 jobs
  • 7th in photonics manufacturing employment with 1,100 jobs
  • 8th in communications equipment manufacturing employment with 3,900 jobs

Regardless of volume, which does place the coasts ahead of the state and Central Indiana, I believe we have the momentum, the Midwest has the sense and sensibilities to outpace the competition for technology dominance throughout the long road to economic recovery.

For now, my answer to the Quipol TechPoll is a hopeful thumbs-up!