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America's High-Tech Economy: Growth, Development and Risks for Metropolitan Areas
Jul 13, 1999

Technology has infiltrated all sectors of the U.S. economy and has enabled truly globally integrated firms. A compelling case can be made that the high-tech sector is boosting the long-term potential growth path of the U.S. economy and determining the relative economic success of metropolitan areas around the country.

Information technology (IT) describes the infrastructure and knowledge that is necessary to make information available rapidly. Advances in technology in recent years have created entirely new growth industries including e-commerce, online information services, mobile communications, and greater advances in medical research. IT has spurred rapid, seemingly continuous innovation by creating networks that generate value through productive interactive relationships or collaboration.

High-tech industries have a large direct economic impact on metro economies, but the indirect and induced effects are critical to understanding their role in promoting growth. Core information technology industries -- electronic components and accessories, computer and office equipment, and computer and data processing services -- are the fastest-growing in the U.S economy. This study's main focus is to examine technology's importance in determining the relative economic performance of metropolitan areas and the lessons that can be applied to the future.