San Francisco and four other U.S. cities saw 90% of the tech job growth for 12 years until 2017, leaving out hundreds of other cities.
U.S. technology sector jobs are overwhelmingly concentrated in just five U.S. cities, creating a ‘grave problem’ of regional inequality and lost opportunity in the heartland, according to a new study.
The five cities with 90% of the innovation-sector job growth from 2005 to 2017 were Boston, Seattle, San Francisco, San Diego and San Jose, according to the study by researchers at Brookings Institution and the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation. (NOTE: San Jose is the County Seat of Santa Clara County which includes Palo Alto, Mountain View, Los Altos, Menlo Park, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, Cupertino, Campbell, Milpitas and San Jose. This area is generally known as ‘Silicon Valley‘ Ed.)
Of the 256,063 jobs created in that 12-year period, only 10% went to 343 other metro areas. Washington DC is expected to benefit by Amazon’s decision to locate 25,000 tech workers for a second headquarters in Arlington County, Va., over the next dozen years just across the Potomac River from Washington. The researchers argued “it is time for the federal government to take aggressive steps to counter the epidemic of regional division and avoid ceding its innovation lead to China. Congress should establish a major new initiative to select a set of promising metro areas to receive a major package of innovation inputs and supports that would help these areas accelerate, transform and scale up their innovation sectors.”
The researchers counted 13 high tech and advanced industries in the innovation sector, including chipmakers and fabs. The report’s authors said innovation has declined nationally because tech companies increasingly move activity from the high-cost U.S. tech hubs to medium-cost foreign hubs. The five tech hubs have higher housing and living costs, homelessness and problems with congestion and limited access to some resources. The study suggested the U.S. should create eight to 10 new regional growth centers across the heartland with each metro area getting R&D funding worth $700 million a year for 10 years. Overall, it could cost the federal government $100 billion, but the study argued that cost is substantially less than the 10 year cost of U.S. fossil fuel subsidies.
By Matt Hamblen, Fierce Electronics
EIDA Comment: It is noted that four of the five regions are on the US west coast and three are in California with its generally pleasant climate. All of these electronics industry clusters have established over decades, with their origin usually traceable to an event or an institution. Reported historical reasons for the origin and early development of technology clusters in these regions include:
Boston: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the minicomputer firms DEC, Prime, Apollo, Wang, Data General started the cluster in the 1960’s.
Many companies founded in Boston moved to the west coast in the 1980’s.
San Diego: University of California, La Jolla founded in the1960’s near the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Prominent technologies in the region now are Biotechnology and Telecommunications (Qualcomm, Cisco, Verizon).
San Francisco: University of California, Berkeley (15 KM across the Bay) and Stanford University, Palo Alto (35KM south) were influential, but not dominant. The pleasant west coast climate and the ‘laid-back’ lifestyle encouraged tech business development and particularly software development in San Francisco.
San Jose: (Silicon Valley) Stanford University influenced Hewlett Packard to establish in Palo Alto in the 1930’s followed by semiconductor companies in the 1970’s (Altair, AMD, Intel, LSI). Later arrivals include Google, Apple and e-Bay
Seattle: Microsoft established in Redmond (15KM from Seattle) in 1986 and Amazon established in the city in the 1990’s attracting staff from other companies.
EIDA Question: Will our leaders promote and assist Adelaide to continue to develop its large and sustainable electronics design and manufacturing industry as the foundation of Australia’s ‘Knowledge-City’ ? Or will our leaders continue to ignore the ‘established’ and profitable electronics industry while promoting the wide range of ‘industries of the future’ that rely heavily on electronics as their principal ‘enabling technology’. Do our leaders understand that without electronics our civilisation is unsustainable?
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