CDI Corporation

Tech jobs still strengthening Bay Area economy

Tech development and innovation have been major driving forces within the San Francisco metropolitan area for about 30 years now, and this trend shows no signs of stopping. According to the Bay Area Council Economic Institute, the region experienced 4.3 percent economic growth each year for the past three years between 2014 and 2017, which is twice the growth level seen throughout the entire U.S. over the same period. If the region were an independent nation, its economy would outstrip that of all but 18 other countries.

Employment also grew at a robust pace in the metro area during this period, increasing by 26 percent. Tech and IT jobs expanded by 45 percent on their own, with the field representing 750,000 of the Bay Area workforce as of July 2017. Per-capita income in the region stood at $80,000, well ahead of similarly sized areas in the U.S.

In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, Christopher Thornberg, a founding partner of the Beacon Economics research firm, did point out that there was some collateral damage as a result of the growth that the tech sector facilitated.

“You’ll have continued growth in the Bay Area,” Thornberg said to the news provider. “I don’t see any reason for it to slow down. Tech continues to thrive, but tech grows at the expense of older parts of the economy. Because of the region’s unwillingness to densify … every time a new Google worker moves in, an old economy worker moves out.”

The Chronicle reported that some of the displacement caused by extremely fast-paced expansion within tech has led to population growth in other parts of California. This could end up offsetting the issue and bolstering the economy of those regions, including the Inland Empire, San Joaquin Valley, San Mateo County and the Sacramento metropolitan area.