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Saturday, September 9 • 11:05am - 11:38am
An Analysis of Job and Wage Growth in the Telecom/Tech Sector

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This paper reports on a systematic study of the quantity, wage level, and location of domestic jobs being created by the telecom/tech sector. In recent years, the leading telecom/tech companies have been repeatedly criticized for not producing enough jobs; for not producing enough middle skill jobs; and for not producing enough geographically diverse jobs. In this paper we bring together data from the Current Employment Statistics (CES), the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES), the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW), and organic job posting data to systematically address all three of these questions.

The first step was to identify several appropriate technology aggregates, including the broader digital sector, the telecom/tech sector, and the e-commerce sector. We show that for each aggregate that both job and establishment growth has significantly outpaced the overall private sector. Moreover, we estimate the domestic employment for the top ten telecom/tech companies (measured by market cap), and show that their domestic workforce have by 31% since 2007 compared to 5% for the private sector as a whole.

We then calculate the average real wage in each aggregate. Not surprisingly, we find that real wages in the technology aggregates are higher and rising faster than for the private sector as a whole. To correct for composition effects, we examine detailed occupational categories, and find that for middle-skill occupations such as sales and office support, the tech aggregates have significantly higher wages compared to the private sector.

Next, we examine the geography of telecom/tech job and payroll growth. We find that in recent years that the telecom/tech sector has “escaped” the coasts and is now propelling growth in states such as Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana. We estimate the income gains to these states from telecom/tech expansion.

Finally, we project the impact on overall real wages if the current telecom/tech growth continues. We decompose the impact into a composition effect and a real wage effect.


Michael Mandel

Progressive Policy Institute

Saturday September 9, 2017 11:05am - 11:38am EDT
ASLS Hazel Hall - Room 332