The number of technology jobs on Long Island has declined 40 percent in the past 25 years, while in New York City the number has nearly tripled, according to data released Wednesday.
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that the Island once led the city in tech employment: 61,561 positions here in January 1990, compared with 40,580 in New York.
The scales reversed four years later as the defense industry began to shrink in Nassau and Suffolk counties, bank economists said. More recently, the city has attracted hundreds of startup businesses as well as Google and other Internet giants.
Tech employment on Long Island totaled 36,695 jobs in December, the most recent available data, compared with the five boroughs' 118,900. That's an advantage of 82,205 jobs for the city.
The New York Fed data include jobs in computer manufacturing, online retailers, software publishing, data processing, Internet publishing and Web search engines, computer systems design and scientific research and development services -- but not telecommunications. The bank is believed to be the first to calculate the number of tech jobs on a regional level in New York State.
The shrinking number of tech positions on the Island comes as business executives and politicians lobby for more government aid to help startups, to commercialize inventions from area colleges and research laboratories, and to graduate more engineers.
The Long Island Regional Economic Development Council, which helps direct state business aid, has identified biotechnology as the local industry most in need.
New York Fed economists said Wednesday that the tech workforce locally has been affected by the popularity of urban centers over suburban office parks among some employers.
"There's a lot of potential for further growth in the technology sector in the city because . . . [technology] has become more of an urban phenomenon," said economist Jason Bram. The industry "recently has been more focused on ideas technologies as opposed to manufacturing."
He said a similar shift is occurring between California's Silicon Valley and San Francisco. "The whole idea of the office park . . . is not in vogue right now for sure," Bram told reporters during a briefing in Manhattan on regional economies.
New York City added 47,764 tech jobs between September 2009 and December. Long Island lost 691 tech jobs in the same period.
William Dudley, president of the New York Fed, said, "Silicon Alley has not only helped the city bounce back from the recession, but I believe is a key for the city moving forward."