Raleigh-Durham is solidly in the pack of U.S. office markets benefiting from atypical growth in the high-tech services portion of the economy, according to a new report from an international real estate consulting company.

In its first report on how high-tech office-based business, as opposed to manufacturing, is faring, Jones Lang LaSalle included venture capital, job growth and economic indicators along with data on office rents and vacancies in established and emerging high-tech centers around the nation.

Office use overall makes up more than a fifth of U.S. employment, and high-tech office workers are only 1.7 percent, but high-tech service jobs are growing three times as fast as overall employment, the report said.

Raleigh-Durham scored in the top three in only one of Jones Lang LaSalle’s categories, coming in first in the decline in office vacancy rates. The biggest high-tech firms as measured by “real estate footprint” in the Raleigh-Durham market are Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO), Tekelec (Nasdaq: TKLC ), NetApp (Nasdaq: NTAP ) and the Research Triangle Foundation itself.

In the office market, the report put RTP about at the bottom of a cycle and ready to begin to grow again.

A report from the same firm about life science “clusters” ranked the Triangle ninth nationally. (Read details here.)

RTP 10th Among 18 Markets

Looking at what it terms the high-tech industry economic cycle, the real estate report put Raleigh-Durham at 10 out of 18 areas and on a line between growing markets and ones where the economic downturn has halted growth or turned it negative.

The factors used for the economic cycle rankings were:

  • High-tech job growth
  • High-tech services concentration (office jobs as a percentage of all high-tech jobs)
  • High-tech services annual wage growth
  • Venture capital funding per high-tech job
  • Intellectual capital (percentage of people with a college degree)

Raleigh-Durham was fourth in job concentration, sixth in services growth, 13th in venture capital and 10th in college degrees.

Jones Lang LaSalle said the report, its first on the high-tech industry, “analyzes how key office markets across the nation are responding to high-tech growth and changing occupancy patterns in the workplace.”

The report also stated that current high-tech growth is not a repeat of the dot-com bubble for several reasons.

“Venture capitalists are more cautious … and the types of companies that receive funding are more viable,” the report said. Companies that are growing now focus on mobile, search, cloud computing and social media and draw on a global market, not a narrow domestic one, it added.

“These differences suggest the current high-tech expansion is in fact different and in an early growth stage with plenty of running room ahead for more hiring to produce more earnings,” Jones Lang LaSalle said.

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