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Make room for techies

The US high-tech sector is booming.

It has created more than a million new jobs since 1993, employed 4.8 million workers in 1998, and has become one of the nation's largest industries, according to an American Electronics Association (AEA) report issued last week.

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The report also revealed that:

*US high-tech workers earned an average wage of $53,100 in 1997, or 77 percent more than the average private-sector wage.

*The nationwide high-tech payroll was $243 billion in 1997, up from $178 billion in 1990, adjusted for inflation.

The success extends beyond traditional high-tech regions, the report said. All but nine states created new tech jobs between 1996 and 1997.

"The greatest percentage [technology job] growth rates in the 1990s are in states like South Dakota, Idaho, Washington, and Georgia," said William T. Archey, AEA president and CEO.

California is by far the nation's technology powerhouse, employing 784,000 workers in 1997.

Texas ranked second in overall employment, with 376,000 workers, but holds the No. 1 position in creating high-tech jobs, adding more than 102,000 new jobs between 1990 and 1997.

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Washington led the nation in wages, paying its high-tech workers an average of more than $81,000.

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