SIA Working With Federal Government to Improve Collection of Semiconductor Employment Data

Thursday, Dec 20, 2012, 12:00am

by Semiconductor Industry Association

Over the last couple months, SIA has reported some key information about U.S. semiconductor employment. In November, we announced that the U.S. semiconductor industry currently employs almost a quarter of a million workers and added jobs three times faster than the rest of the U.S. economy from 2010 to 2011. Earlier this month, we released state-by-state employment data showing that California leads all states in semiconductor jobs, followed by Texas, Oregon, Arizona, Massachusetts and New York.

You might wonder where this data comes from and how it was collected. In short, our reporting reflects official U.S. government data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau, which conducts an economic census of U.S. businesses every 5 years and periodically surveys businesses to ask how many people they employ. The resulting data is used by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to report employment data by industry. Currently, BLS data for the semiconductor industry includes workers in all professions (administrative, business operations, engineering, etc.) who are employed at firms — or the particular divisions within firms — that manufacture semiconductors. Unfortunately, BLS does not include workers at fabless semiconductor design firms — a growing sector of our industry — in its semiconductor employment category. As a result, SIA used a conservative analysis of government data to generate an estimate of employment totals for the fabless sector in order to arrive at the total number of semiconductor workers in the U.S.

The good news is that we’re working with several of the government’s statistical agencies — including Census, BLS and the Bureau of Economic Analysis — to ensure that in the future official government data on the semiconductor industry includes fabless semiconductor companies. We hope to have an improved process in place by the time the next economic census takes place in 2017. In the meantime, we will continue to report new BLS data as it becomes available and will provide the most accurate estimate possible for semiconductor jobs in the fabless sector, since employment figures are a key indicator for our industry.