Emerging Industries Account for 69,600 Jobs

December 24, 2010, 2:57 PM HST · Updated December 24, 3:01 PM
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By Sonia Isotov

A new report released yesterday indicates the high‐performing activities in Hawaii’s targeted industry portfolio accounts for about 69,600 jobs; 9.0% of all civilian jobs in 2010. 

Researched by Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism, the Hawaii’s Targeted & Emerging Industries: 2010 Update Report also indicates Research & Development is Hawaii’s highest performing emerging industry.

The Summer 2010 survey updates an initial benchmarking report published in late 2009. Results show that the strongest performing targets, in terms of above average growth, national competitiveness, and above‐average earnings, were specifically Research and Development (particularly Biotechnology), Business Consulting, Tech Manufacturing, Medical Testing, Computer Services, Computer and Digital Media, Aquaculture, and Engineering and Related Services.

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Other key findings:

  • Between 2002 and 2010 those high-performing activities generated 20% of the total gain in jobs for the civilian economy, or about 15,000 new jobs.
  • Scientific Research and Development has been among the highest performing activities. While still a small industry group, R&D job growth averaged 5.2% over the 2002 to 2010 period, nearly four times faster than the growth in all civilian jobs and an average 3.3 percentage points per year faster than growth of the same industry group nationally.
  • For about half of the high performing activities the average annual earnings exceeded $50,000 in 2010. Engineering and Related Activity had the highest average at just over $83,000. The lowest average earnings were in Performing & Creative Arts and Call Centers, at about $20,000.
  • About a dozen activities in the portfolio fell into the Declining industry category as the result of net job losses for the 2002 to 2010 period. Notable among these were Farm Production, Architecture, Pharmacies, Information Technology, Broadcasting, Publishing and Film/TV.

The State and counties have sought to balance their economic reliance on a few large economic activities like tourism, defense jobs, and plantation agriculture (sugar and pineapple), by providing support for the growth and development of numerous smaller economic activities and industries.

“Emerging industries” are activities rated high on performance but had not reached a level of concentration that would as yet suggest a competitive advantage.

“Targeted industries” means that at some point in the past an activity was of interest for its potential contribution to growth and diversification by agencies, organizations or stakeholders. 

Emerging and targeted industries are pursued because they were thought to have potential as significant, long-run contributors to economic growth and skilled jobs.

But while a few of these activities have been measured and their performance tracked over the years, there has not been a consistent effort to define, measure and assess their performance.

Primarily the performance assessment serves to assist economic developers and policy makers to understand which target industries are achieving the potential hoped for them and which are not. Data does not specifically cover Maui.

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