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Clam Chowder and Photonics

Photonics Spectra
Jul 2000
California may be the sentimental home of the semiconductor and electronics industries, but most US photonics manufacturing jobs are located in the Northeast, suggests a report by the American Electronics Association and the Nasdaq stock exchange.

Of the estimated 104,000 photonics manufacturing jobs in the US in 1999, five states accounted for 73 percent, reported "Cyberstates 4.0: A State-By-State Overview of the High-Technology Industry." The top states were New York, 49,200; California, 11,700; Massachusetts, 8900; Connecticut, 3500; and New Jersey, 3000.

The data are the latest available at the state level, and an association analyst noted that the current federal standard industry classification categories devised in 1987 do not break out the various forms of photonics technology, so some jobs are accounted for in nonphotonics categories.

"The report is a conservative impression -- it's at least an idea of the trends in manufacturing," said Michaela Platzer, association vice president of research. "The technology target is moving too quickly to be precise."

Duncan T. Moore, associate director for technology in the White House Office of Technology Policy, said that the report significantly understated the number of photonics jobs. For example, Corning Inc. of Corning, N.Y., accounts for about 32,000 jobs alone. A more accurate estimate could be attained by adding the number of employees listed in The Photonics Corporate Guide, he said, but that number would still be too low. Defining such jobs "is a problem we've had for years."

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