A new study by the University of Montana’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research shows a boom in the state’s high tech sector. The Montana High Tech Business Alliance commissioned the study to find out how Montana’s tech industry was faring. Chairman Greg Gianforte said the results surpassed expectations.

"We found that the average wage amongst one of our members is twice the median earnings for Montana workers, just over $50,000 a year," Gianforte said. "The sector, the high tech businesses and manufacturing businesses, growing eight to 10 times faster than the statewide economic growth. It shows that we are creating high wage jobs and it's actually greater than we expected."

Most of the businesses surveyed are actually located in Missoula, a city not typically known for its high tech sector. Gianforte said that more growth is expected.

"One of the interesting things is the average company that we surveyed, and there were 78 companies that participated in the survey, which is a subset of our membership, they represent $139 million in payroll in the state of Montana and they expected to grow on average 25 percent this next year," Gianforte said. "Yeah, that's pretty encouraging."

Gianforte said high-tech jobs have a unique opportunity to increase the state’s economic pie, because they compete on a national basis and must pay a national wage.

Greg Gianforte: