Mayors' Survey: High Tech Drives City Economies

WASHINGTON (07/05/2000) - High-technology industries are dominating the economic growth in cities throughout the nation, according to a new survey from the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

"America's Cities and the New Economy," released in June at the mayors' annual conference in Seattle, is based on information provided by 177 of the nation's larger cities in response to a May survey.

When the mayors were asked to rank industry sectors (including construction, retail and wholesale, health, high technology, and personal services, among others) based on their effect on economic growth, the high-tech industry was most often given the top ranking. It was also cited as the highest priority for economic development efforts.

Leading the high-tech industry in its impact on growth was telecommunications, with 43 percent of the mayors ranking it first. Behind telecommunications were Internet services and electronic commerce.

Ninety percent of respondents said that fiber-optic cable and communications networks were experiencing "significant or moderate" demands compared to other infrastructure areas as a result of new high-tech development.

The digital divide - the separation between those with and without technology - is also a concern, the survey showed. About 50 percent of respondents said lack of access to computers and the Internet was a significant problem for certain population segments - 84 percent of which said the problem was serious or very serious.

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