Back in 2001, just before the inevitable collapse of the high-tech boom — and long before Austin had transformed into the more diverse and healthier technology ecosystem it is today — every new perk seemed better than the last.
Recruiters dangled new cars and ski weekends to entice the top college graduates. Students negotiated salaries for summer internships. And in Austin, when a night’s festivities wrapped up, people looked for the Trilogy employees.
The story you’re reading is premium content from the Austin American-Statesman. Subscribers get total access to all our in-depth news, digital editions and exclusive premium content. You can also buy a 24-hour digital pass or 7-day digital pass.
Read MyStatesman.com now — 24-hour digital pass99¢ for 24-hours
Read MyStatesman.com all week — 7-day digital pass$3.99 for 7-days
Subscribe to the Statesman for as little as 33¢ per dayView Offers
For Subscribers: Register your account for digital access.Access Digital
For Subscribers: Sign in here if you have already registered your account.Sign In
By the numbers
-18,000 — Austin’s net loss in ‘hard tech’ jobs since 2001.
+14,000 — Net gain in software jobs since 2001.
-7,700 — Net loss in all high-tech jobs since 2001.
About this story
To get a sense of the changes in Austin’s high-tech ecosystem, the Austin American-Statesman worked with Joshua Wright and his colleagues at Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI) to identify some key trends in the area’s primary technology sectors.
Statesman reporters Kirk Ladendorf, Lori Hawkins and Dan Zehr initially identified five high-tech sectors that reflect the state of Austin-area technology, past and present – semiconductors, computers and electronics, software, Web and mobile, and life sciences.
Working with breakdowns supplied by EMSI, the Statesman grouped each of the relevant individual industries into one of these five sectors. EMSI then used that framework to produce employment (full-time, part-time and self-employed) and supply chain data for each sector.
As with any such effort, this one comes with caveats. For example, many Austin technology companies cover a wide range of different industries, and many of the industry totals include workers employed in a broad range of occupations – some high-tech and some not. And certain industries include jobs that cross multiple sectors.
We excluded many such industries because they didn’t employ enough people to significantly impact the broader trends. In cases of larger industries, we excluded those in which most workers were employed in fields that didn’t fall in the five key high-tech sectors.
The Statesman consulted with local economic development and business experts to finalize and analyze the data. We thank them for their aid and insight: Jon Hockenyos (TXP); Brian Kelsey (Civic Analytics); Michael Hennig (Capital Area Council of Governments); Susan Davenport (formerly of the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce); and Tracey Panek (Hoover’s).
PolitiFact Texas tests Barack Obama’s statement that the tech sector drives one-quarter of Austin’s economy. B1