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Tech jobs soar to all-time record heights in Bay Area

George Avalos, The Mercury News on

Published in Science & Technology News

SAN JOSE -- The Bay Area's technology boom is so robust that it has reached record highs, but the remarkable surge has also reduced Santa Clara County's share of tech employment in the nine-county region as the San Francisco-San Mateo area has gained a bigger piece of the pie.

Tech employment -- the economic engine of Silicon Valley for two decades -- continues to grow at a rate faster than all other sectors and has soared well above the lofty pinnacles of the dot-com era.

"The entire Bay Area economy is booming, and tech is the core driver of the success and income being generated there," said Christopher Thornberg, an economist and founding partner with Beacon Economics. "There are a lot of banks, and stores, and restaurants, and homeowners, and others who are happy the gravy train is still rolling."

At the end of May, the Bay Area boasted 835,600 technology jobs -- 116,900 more than the dot-com peak of 718,700 in December 2000, according to research by this news organization based on statistics culled from state Employment Development Department data.

The latest tech industry totals mark a 16.3% increase in the number of technology jobs compared to the dot-com high point that was reached in December 2000. Over the same 19-year time frame, the overall Bay Area job market has grown 13.1 percent.

The trends over the past 19 years show that the technology sector has remained a powerhouse for the Bay Area economy, even after the most brutal of downturns.

 

The dot-com meltdown, the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the housing bubble, the financial crisis, and the recession of a decade ago have all failed to halt the dynamic expansion of the tech sector and its ability to create jobs in the Bay Area.

Plus, the Bay Area tech industry today seems more solid than ever.

"The jobs during the dot-com period were built on a false foundation," said Tim Bajarin, principal analyst with Campbell-based Creative Strategies, a tech market research firm. "Too many were built on the idea all you needed to go public was a web site."

Many companies didn't survive. Webvan, Pets.com, and Boo.com are reminders of the "irrational exuberance" of the internet bubble.

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