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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

N.H. has more jobs in ‘science and engineering’ fields than most states

New Hampshire likes to brag how its economy successfully shifted from logging, paper making and textiles to high-tech industries, and a new National Science Foundation seems to bear that out: The state is among the top 10 for percentage of jobs in science and engineering fields, a list dominated by much larger states.

The NSF report, titled “Regional Concentration of Scientists and Engineers in the U.S.,” says 4.8 percent of New Hampshire workers were in jobs classified as “science and engineering employment” in 2011, based on data from the American Community Survey conducted by Census Bureau. This was well above the national average of 4.1 percent or the figures in Maine (3.2 percent) and Vermont (3.5 percent). ...

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New Hampshire likes to brag how its economy successfully shifted from logging, paper making and textiles to high-tech industries, and a new National Science Foundation seems to bear that out: The state is among the top 10 for percentage of jobs in science and engineering fields, a list dominated by much larger states.

The NSF report, titled “Regional Concentration of Scientists and Engineers in the U.S.,” says 4.8 percent of New Hampshire workers were in jobs classified as “science and engineering employment” in 2011, based on data from the American Community Survey conducted by Census Bureau. This was well above the national average of 4.1 percent or the figures in Maine (3.2 percent) and Vermont (3.5 percent).

Not surprisingly, perhaps, New Hampshire lagged behind Massachusetts, where 6.4 percent of jobs were related to science and engineering.

The Bay State is fueled by the Boston area, which leads the nation in percentage of jobs in the biological and “environmental life sciences” category.

Who else is ahead of us on the list? Lots of big states: California, Colorado, Washington state, Maryland and Virginia (fueled by overflow from Washington, D.C.), New Jersey … and one small state: Delaware, which has about 950,000 people, compared to New Hampshire’s 1.35 million.

The report, written by NSF staffers Beethika Khan and Jaquelina Falkenheim , was designed to illustrate the “geographical concentration” of high-tech jobs for future economic planning.

“The availability of a skilled workforce is an important predictor of a region’s population, productivity, and technological growth,” it noted.

The report said “about 5.7 million” workers are in various science and engineering fields around the country.

The largest field of which is “computer or mathematical sciences” (3 million), and much of the rest are engineers.

The worst-performing states were just as scattered around the country as the best-performing states: Mississippi was at the bottom, the only state with less than 2 percent of its workers in this category, along with North Dakota, West Virginia and Nevada.

The entire report can be found at www.nsf.gov/
statistics/infbrief/nsf13330/nsf13330.pdf

David Brooks can be reached at 594-6531 or dbrooks@nashua
telegraph.com. Also, follow Brooks on Twitter (@GraniteGeek).