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North-central WV technology industry important to the state

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The technology industry of north-central West Virginia accounted for $1.7 billion of the state's $58 billion economy in 2011.

That's according to "Economic Impact of the North Central West Virginia Technology Industry on the West Virginia Economy," a brief report prepared by Amy Godfrey, assistant professor of economics at Fairmont State University.

The report showing the value of technology industries to the state will be released March 14 at the High-Tech Expo at the Culture Center in Charleston. The expo is hosted by the West Virginia High Technology Consortium Foundation to demonstrate the importance of technology to the state's economy and the need for support of business and economic development services provided by the foundation.

Godfrey looked at employment and wage data for 52 federal industry codes across the economy for West Virginia and north-central West Virginia — a broad set of codes ranging from forestry and oil and gas extraction to electrical equipment manufacturing, software publishing, architectural and engineering services and scientific research.

In 2011, the technology industry, as represented by those 52 sectors, accounted for 7.3 percent of employment and 12.8 percent of wages in the state.

In north-central West Virginia — Harrison, Lewis, Marion, Monongalia, Preston and Upshur counties, which host a significant part of the technology industry for the state — they accounted for 5.1 percent of jobs and 7.4 percent of wages.

Technology-industry activities in north-central West Virginia contributed $1.7 billion of output in West Virginia, with 11,500 direct, indirect and induced jobs in the state and $597 million in employment compensation.

The technology industry is growing, the report shows: jobs increased 8.2 percent from 2010 to 2011, and wages increased 5.1 percent — both faster than the state's economy as a whole.

The numbers are conservative, according to the report, due largely to data restrictions.