Bay Area should stop hogging U.S. tech-jobs growth: report

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The San Jose and San Francisco metropolitan areas are among the five regions in the U.S. that together accounted for more than 90 percent of job growth in the technology sector from 2005 to 2017, according to a new report.

The San Jose metro region added 52,288 tech jobs during the time period studied, and the San Francisco region added 77,192, according to the Brookings Institution report released Monday.

The other three metro areas were San Diego, Boston and Seattle.

The Bay Area metro areas analyzed in the report include nearly all of greater Silicon Valley, with the San Francisco area including much of the East Bay and extending down the Peninsula to the San Jose area.

While tech job growth here has helped drive a booming Bay Area economy, concentration of jobs and R&D in “superstar” centers is bad for America — and in several ways, bad for the people living in these centers, the report argued.

“The costs of excessive tech concentration are creating serious negative externalities,” the report said. “These range from spiraling home prices and traffic gridlock in the superstar hubs to a problematic ‘sorting’ of workers, with college-educated workers clustering in the star cities and leaving other metro ares to make do with thinner talent reservoirs.

“Of concern here is the stark gap between the productivity of the relatively few metropolitan areas with high shares of innovation industries and the many more with less.”

Because the superstar centers carry massively high costs for companies and workers, and because other hubs are in short supply, “investments flow to places such as Bangalore, Shanghai, Taipei, or Vancouver, rather than Indianapolis, Detroit, or Kansas City,” the report said.

The “Case for Growth Centers” report calls for “a massive federal effort to transform a short list of ‘heartland’ metro areas with compelling strengths into self-sustaining ‘growth centers’ that will benefit entire regions.”

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