Study: Michigan Tops U.S. with Number of Engineers Per Capita


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Michigan employs the highest number of engineers in the country when population is factored in. According to a study released Wednesday by Ann Arbor-based Center for Automotive Research, Michigan, with 9.9 million residents, has nearly 60,000 engineers, while California, with 38 million residents, employs nearly 62,000 engineers.

While state-level statistics for employment by industry are not published, the report — which quantifies the high-tech nature of the employment sector — says engineering talent is tied mostly to the automotive industry.

“Michigan has long served as the nerve center of this highly advanced, technologically sophisticated industry,” says Bernard Swiecki, senior project manager for the center. “If you were to relate the automotive industry to the human anatomy, Michigan would be the head.” Other engineering hotbeds include health care, technology, and construction, among others.

According to center, the automotive industry spends nearly $18 billion per year on research and development — an average of $1,200 for R&D per vehicle. Michigan is home to more than 330 automotive R&D companies and hosts R&D facilities for nine of the world’s 10 largest automakers.

“Historically, Michigan has been home of the automotive industry for North America,” Swiecki says. “It is much more intense here than any other part of the country.”

Overall, the study found that cars are the most technologically sophisticated products owned by the average consumer, with typical vehicles containing about 60 microprocessors and more than 10 million lines of software code.

“The integration of technology into the motor vehicle is creating an unprecedented demand for workers with high-tech skills, making this one of the most exciting industries in which to be employed,” says Kim Hill, lead author of the study.

To read the full report, click here.

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