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Automation Alley Releases Report on State of Southeast Michigan's Technology Economy
Date:11/10/2008

Study Cites Growth in Life Sciences Technology Sector

TROY, Mich., Nov. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Automation Alley, Southeast Michigan's technology business association, will release key data from its Fourth Annual Technology Industry Report: Driving Southeast Michigan Forward, at its State of Technology Luncheon on Wednesday, Nov. 12 at the Troy Marriott. The report, prepared by the Anderson Economic Group, provides data regarding Automation Alley's rapidly growing presence in the life sciences sector, as well as employment growth outside of the advanced automotive industry. Southeast Michigan has a significantly higher concentration of technology employment compared to the national economy, and despite the stagnate state of the economy, gives the region a reason to be optimistic.

"In spite of the fact the entire automotive industry has declined, Southeast Michigan still has one of the highest concentration of technology jobs in America," said Ken Rogers, executive director, Automation Alley. "Our workforce makes us incredibly unique, and it will lead the region and state out of these difficult times. Talent, I believe, is the next economic development arena over infrastructure - and we've got the talent required to take the region into a new economy."

Patrick Anderson, principal and CEO, Anderson Economic Group will provide an exclusive overview of the report at the luncheon. In addition, Mike Wendland, technology columnist, Detroit Free Press, will moderate a panel discussion emphasizing how local companies can achieve success in these financially difficult times - with a focus on partnership, collaboration and how to best utilize the regional talent and knowledge. The business panel includes representatives from: Adaptive Materials; Biotechnology Business Consultants; Cbeyond; Wayne State University's Smart Sensors and Integrated Microsystems Lab; and Quality Metalcraft.

Automation Alley also will release the results of its recent market research study, which focuses on the current state of regional companies and the local and state economies. Highlights include anticipated organizational and revenue growth, as well as continued investment in research and development. Data from the survey reveals a majority of Southeast Michigan companies are attributing growth to enhanced or added products and services, which implies continued investment in research and development.

Results Reveal Growth

According to the Technology Report, the life sciences sector is rapidly growing as Automation Alley establishes itself as a leader, both in Michigan and across the country. In this sector, employment grew by 13.2 percent from 2005 to 2006, and the average wage for workers grew in 2006 by 4.4 percent to over $97,000.

The study shows that despite overall economic declines and significant restructuring in the automotive industry, Automation Alley's technology industry has remained strong. From 2005 to 2006 there was a 2 percent employment gain outside the advanced automotive sector, with life sciences and advanced manufacturing leading the way.

The report asserts that small businesses are continuing to attract large funds for research and development. In 2006, small businesses in Automation Alley received 97 awards to fund research and development activities in Southeast Michigan, totaling approximately $38.8 million and surpassing the previous high from 2005.

Growth also continues for research and development within Automation Alley universities, which have spent billions of dollars allowing their technology-orientated programs to grow and helping to meet the demand for high-skilled science and engineering workers. In 2006 there were a total of 12,194 science and engineering graduate students enrolled in Automation Alley universities, which is 335 more students than the prior year, and 64 percent of the total science and engineering graduate student enrollment in the state.

"As the automotive industry declines, regional businesses continue to diversify, giving Southeast Michigan residents much to be hopeful about," said Anderson. "This report shows that Automation Alley's technology has a larger share in the economy than the state and national levels. The strength of the region's workforce and the importance placed on research and development gives us all a reason to look forward to continued advancement and growth."

Data from the study takes into account a variety of factors, including employment, number of private businesses, payroll, demographics, socio-economics and quality of life. Registration for the luncheon begins at 11:30 a.m. followed by lunch and presentations at noon. The cost of the event is $40 for Automation Alley members and $80 for non-members. RSVP by Nov. 10 at http://www.automationalley.com, or contact Automation Alley at 800-427-5100 or info@automationalley.com.

About Automation Alley

Automation Alley is a technology business association driving the growth and image of Southeast Michigan's economy through a collaborative culture that focuses on workforce and business development initiatives.

Since its founding in 1999, Automation Alley has expanded to include more than 950 businesses, educational institutions and government entities, covering an eight county area and the City of Detroit. Automation Alley promotes regional prosperity through business attraction services, exporting assistance, workforce development and technology acceleration.


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