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‘Silicon Harbor’ ranked No. 12 for 5-year GDP growth in the high-tech sector

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By Natalie Swanson
Contributing Writer

The Milken Institute ranked the Charleston metropolitan area No. 12 for five-year growth in gross domestic product in the high-tech sector.

Milken’s Best-Performing Cities index placed Charleston No. 17 overall for 2015 report, 22 spots higher than its 2014 ranking. The index includes several criteria, such as five-year GDP, salary growth and location quotient, among other data points.

“Although the metro’s high-tech sector is still relatively small, it grew 16% faster than the national average over the past five years, ranking 12th in this measure,” Milken stated in its report.

Boomtown, a tech company that creates web-based software for real estate professionals, lists more than 250 tech companies and 10 incubators in Charleston on its Charleston Tech Map. 70% of Charleston Digital Corridor companies reported hiring staff in 2015.

Charleston’s rank on Milken’s list of 200 large cities places it with other prominent tech hubs:

1. Savannah – no associated “Silicon” name
2. San Francisco – Silicon Valley
10. Austin, Texas – Silicon Hills
12. Charleston – Silicon Harbor
13. Portland, Ore. – Silicon Forest
35. New York City – Silicon Alley
80. Washington, D.C. – Silicon Hill
99. Denver – Silicon Mountain

Employees of Charleston Digital Corridor tech companies earn a $69,580 average wage. The average wage for Charleston metropolitan area is $43,560, and the average wage for South Carolina is $40,580, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

According to the bureau, Charleston average wages in the tech sector are lower than other “Silicon” cities as well as other southeastern cities:

City

San Francisco – Silicon Valley

Washington, D.C. – Silicon Hill

New York – Silicon Alley

Charlotte

Raleigh

Austin, Texas – Silicon Hills

Atlanta

Charleston – Silicon Harbor

Average Wage in Tech Sector

$111,050

$102,870

$91,570

$86,470

$85,370

$84,660

$83,580

$69,580

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Reach staff writer Natalie Swanson at nswanson@scbiznews.com.

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