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CoStar Market Insights: Metropolitan Manchester, NH, The High-Tech Hub?

City Works to Raise Tech Profile
April 11, 2018
Believe it or not, Manchester, NH, has the same percentage of high-tech jobs as the well-heeled tech hubs of Washington, D.C., Boston and Austin.

Of course, a metro such as Boston has an employment base 10 times larger than Manchester’s with three million total workers, so that means a lot more tech jobs too, but the health of high-tech is just as important to Manchester as it is to Boston.

The metro with the highest percentage of tech jobs is San Jose, or Silicon Valley, at 27 percent. Number two on the list is Boulder, CO, at 17 percent, a big step down from number one but well ahead of number three, Durham/Chapel Hill, NC, at 13 percent.

As for the other major tech centers, San Francisco’s comes in at 12 percent, followed by D.C., Boston and Austin at 10 percent. Next up is Seattle at 9 percent, and San Diego at 8 percent. After that, it’s a tightly clustered pack with lots of very small metros ahead of many more prominent ones. The U.S. average for tech employment is 5 percent of total non-farm employment.

It’s important to note that the nature of these high-tech jobs varies from metro to metro. While the larger metros certainly have a mix, it could be said that San Jose is the software center of the U.S., while Boston is its biotech hub.

For metropolitan Manchester, with companies like BAE systems in Nashua - where most of the mature high-tech companies in the metro are - its driver is defense, and that industry has not done as well over the years. As shown in Exhibit 1 below, the percentage of high-tech jobs in Manchester dropped from a high of 19 percent in 1984, to 10 percent today. In Boston and across the country, the percentage of high-tech jobs has remained relatively flat, though many companies have come and gone.

Manchester is trying to break that trend with mini high-tech clusters of start-ups such as the one in the old Amoskeag manufacturing complex, which is the old mill complex along the Merrimack River that can be seen from I-293 and is in the center of the City of Manchester. This giant six million-square-foot facility, called Manchester Millyard, has lots of different types of tenants, and interestingly one of the largest Lego models in the world. But with almost 30 tech companies like Scribe, which focuses on cloud data integration, and Newforma, which produces software for architects and construction companies, it’s making some steps to counter this trend.

CoStar Market Insights provides a snapshot of recent real estate trends. The CoStar Market Analytics team monitors commercial and multifamily real estate across 390 metro areas, with a granular understanding of the projects, players and economic trends that move these markets.

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