Story URL: http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=40937
Story Retrieval Date: 5/22/2013 8:29:11 PM CST
Illinois’ high-tech exports jumped 20 percent in 2006, growing at nearly double the pace of the nation as a whole, according to a report released Tuesday by the American Electronics Association.
Illinois was the seventh-ranked state, with $7.2 billion of high-tech goods exported in 2006, compared with $6.0 billion in 2005, the AEA said in its "Trade in the Cyberstates 2007" report. The AEA is a technology trade association with 2,500 member companies.
In its report, the AEA credits Illinois’ expansion in trade to increasing exports in industries such as industrial electronics, and communications, electromedical and computer equipment. Most of the state's tech exports went to Canada, Japan and Mexico.
The increases have a direct impact on jobs and overall economic growth, with an estimated 24,500 jobs in Illinois directly supported by technology exports, the report said.
“High-tech companies invest 15 to 20 percent of their revenue in development,” said Marty Singer, chair of AEA's Midwest Council and CEO of Chicago-based PCTEL Inc. This translates into higher paying jobs for a specialized labor force, he said.
“The world stage really is the future of the economy,” said Andrew Ross, communications director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, who points out that Illinois is now the fifth-largest exporting state including all products -- its highest ranking ever.
Since 2002, total Illinois exports have increased 64 percent, or $16.4 billion to more than $42 billion.
“Governor Blagojevich has made a commitment to helping both companies, large and small, open up new markets overseas, which have huge opportunities as these numbers indicate,” Ross added.
Ranganathan Chandrasekaran, an assistant professor at the Liautaud Graduate School of Business at the University of Illinois at Chicago, is optimistic about future growth in Illinois’ high-tech industry, especially when it comes to smaller companies.
“The growth is going to come from, surprisingly, mid-size firms and the smaller firms,” he said. “These guys are operating in very specific and innovative kinds of fields.”
At the same time, Chandrasekaran says the performance of large companies like Motorola Inc. has fluctuated. “They’re doing very good in some segments, and in other segments, they’re doing very badly,” he said.
The AEA report said overall, the U.S. posted a 10.6 percent increase in high-tech exports to $220 billion in 2006 from $199 billion in 2005.
At the same time, high-tech imports rose 9.2 percent to $322 billion from $295 billion, leaving the U.S. with an overall trade deficit of $102 billion.
“Trade is increasingly important for U.S. high-technology companies,” AEA’s Vice President of Research and Industry Analysis Matthew Kazmierczak said in a statement. “The world is both their marketplace and their supply chain.”
High-tech goods comprised 21 percent of all U.S. exports in 2006, making it the nation’s largest export industry. High-tech is the second-largest import industry, behind energy.