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Durham: More tech jobs, and still well ahead of the City of Oaks

This just in: Durham outdraws Raleigh on a per-capita basis for high-tech jobs in the latest report from the American Electronics Association, according to our friends at the Triangle Business Journal:

The combined metropolitan area boasted 70,600 high-tech jobs, with 37,100 in Raleigh and 33,500 in Durham. The AEA report ranks the cities separately, though their combined total of jobs would have been enough to rank the Raleigh-Durham 23rd in high-tech employment in 2006.

The cities also ranked highly in tech job concentration. Durham ranked fourth in the country, employing 16 percent of its private-sector workers in the tech industry, and Raleigh came in at 12th, with 9.5 percent of private-sector laborers in tech jobs.

Average annual salaries for the tech industry came in at $95,600 in Durham and $74,300 in Raleigh, both of which were higher than average private sector wages in the area.

On the flip side, we here at BCR would like to note that Raleigh does outrank Durham in a wide range of other employment factors. By our count, Raleigh outpaces Durham when measuring the number of county employees buying Disney theme park tickets on their corporate card, for instance, not to mention the number of public school teachers bringing so-called "guest speakers" to sprout anti-Islamic viewpoints.

But, hey, I'll see them those losses and take the high tech job count any day.



The big question, i guess, is where do those folks live?

It's one thing to have a high tech job in the park, but if you're commuting from Apex, Durham doesn't see quite as much benefit.

Matt Sears

BCR, my wife is a regular reader of your work and keeps me up to date on your posts. Let me start by saying that I am an educator here in Durham and my wife works in Durham as well. In fact, she sent me the link to this post because she thought it was relevant to the mission of my school, Hillside New Tech High School. Thanks for all of your good work.

But I wanted to urge some caution and would encourage your message stay focused on BCR and not OCF (Oak City Falling). Your two quips downgrading Raleigh both resonate with me. 1. I know one of the teachers involved in the "Disney Land" controversy and her information isn't as sensational as the media's, and 2. I support a myriad of ideas being shared in school, even when they are unpopular. While I may not bring messages of hate into my classroom, I would certainly not hesitate to inform my students of other (less popular) governmental ideas such as socialism or communism. There are good ideas in nearly every doctrine.

Anyway, just wanted to drop you a note of caution. I'm as pro-Durham as they I am also anti being anti-Raleigh.

Matthew Sears
2008-2009 Durham Public Schools Teacher of the Year

Durham Bull Pen

It's pretty telling that a little fun poked at Raleigh quickly gets the incensed to come to the rescue. We Durhamites have learned over the years of having mud slung our way ceaselessly, to have a bit thicker skin about these things.

Good for the goose not so good for the gander? Not even in a funny jab or two I suppose.


@ Mr. Sears...what do you mean "teachers involved in the Disney Land controversy"? I'm pretty sure he's referring to the now former recycling program manager for the solid waste management division that was fired for among other things taking 4 trips to Disney on Wake taxpayer's dime. But if you know some teachers who have done the same thing then please do tell!

Personally I appreciate a little snarkiness from Mr. Davis...he is a blogger after all.

Ross Grady

I'm fine with snark, and I haven't lived in Raleigh since '96, but perhaps it should be noted that comparing only private-sector tech jobs puts Raleigh at a disadvantage, given the sizes of both state government and NCSU. I'm guessing each of those employs at least a few high-tech workers.

And yes, it goes without saying that having the largest IBM facility in the country within Durham County probably skews the numbers as well. Do we have any numbers tallying the number of high-tech workers who *live* in Durham?

(for what it's worth: I work at IBM *and* I live in Downtown Durham -- put me on that list!)

Kevin Davis


Thanks for your comments. Upon reflection, I think you're right on the subject of tangential Raleigh-tweaking. While I occasionally will "be snarky" towards Wake Co. on like-like issues (e.g., talking about Wake suburbs' underprovisioning of affordable housing relative to a Durham housing issue), this was a bit of sarcasm for its own sake.

My only excuse, and a poor one at that, was whipping off this post just before getting to bed last night, and needing a quick, easy way to close the post. Thus, a shot too easy to take. I can't promise to never take shots at the city to our east, but they're a little healthier in the dialogue when same are relevant to the topic at hand.

Appreciate too the comments on the two issues in question. It will be intriguing to see what possible explanations come off of the travel scandal. On the Enloe teacher, though... while competing visions and world-views are to be welcomed in classroom, I just can't fathom the nature of the anti-Islamic hatred that came into that classroom. A teacher could easily make an honest mistake in not realizing what a speaker would say... but I would have hoped that teacher would interrupt the presentation the moment a line was crossed.

Congratulation on your teacher of the year award and thanks for making a difference in Durham!

Matt Sears

Thanks for all of the comments and feedback, especially Kevin. I'm sure more of the Disney Land controversy will be discussed publicly soon...and there will likely be school issues there, but I can't comment beyond that.

I will also admit that I am not up on all of the "back and forth" between our cities. And yes, I too enjoy ragging on Raleigh from time to time, but the title of the blog, "Bull City Rising," is just such a positive title, and those I fraternize with are so Durham positive, that I felt I had to say something. However, my former school, Hillside, did fall under the unfair pen of Nikole Hannah-Jones of the N&O far too often and unfairly. I'm very thankful that she is no longer employed there.

Nice to be a part of the conversation,


Michael Bacon

I also want to note that in this case, "Durham" and "Raleigh" both are taken to mean "Durham, Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Hillsborough, and all of Chatham County" and "Raleigh, Cary, all the Wake suburbs, Clayton, Smithfield, and Franklin County," respectively. Of course, when it comes to tech jobs, for meaningful numbers, that doesn't mean much more than "Raleigh+Cary" and "Durham+Chapel Hill," except to note that the Durham MSA loses a lot of UNC tech jobs (like mine) when the public sector is taken out of the picture, as well as Duke tech jobs when non-profits are pulled from the equation. NCSU plus the state government may have more, but it's not too far from being a wash.

Sam Hall

All of you are very fortunate to have this kind of dialogue in your community. I hope your new city manager appreciates it. I think he will.

Sam Hall
Pensacola City Council

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