Minnesota's better-than-average technology industry posted another strong year of hiring in 2015, as demand for tech talent outpaces supply.

Tech companies added 5,500 jobs in the state in 2015, a 4 percent increase over the previous year, according to Cyberstates 2015, a state-by-state tech industry report released Wednesday.

Minnesota now has 141,900 people working in what the report's authors consider the tech industry, and 164,500 people in technology occupations.

With its sprawling white-collar sector in constant need of skilled software developers, Minnesota ranks 17th in the nation for tech employment, and outperforms Wisconsin, which employs 97,600 in the technology industry.

The data show there aren't enough tech workers in Minnesota to meet employers' needs. Some 20,000 tech jobs are open in the state, according to the report.

"We need to continue efforts to ensure our great Minnesota tech companies — from small to large — can find the talent they need to be successful," said Margaret Kelliher, head of the Minnesota High Tech Association.

The top five companies hiring tech workers in Minnesota last year were UnitedHealth Group, Thomson Reuters, Wells Fargo, Medtronic and Tech-Pro, a human resources consulting firm in Roseville. Target, Oracle, 3M, Anthem Blue Cross and the Mayo Clinic rounded out the top 10.

Tech hiring is an important measure of the future health of the state economy. The jobs pay well — $93,500 per year on average, or 78 percent higher than the average private sector job — and can attract the entrepreneurial programmers who tend to break off and start their own companies.

Tech firms employed 5.9 percent of the 2.4 million people in the state's private sector workforce last year.

The report, put out by the Computing Technology Industry Association, uses a complex analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics, which doesn't have a straightforward category that captures all technology jobs.

Adam Belz • 612-673-4405 Twitter: @adambelz