Science & Technology



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

George Avalos, The Mercury News on

Published in Science & Technology News

This time, it's different, said Stephen Levy, director of the Palo Alto-based Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy.

"Today's tech companies have employees, and billions and billions of dollars in sales and profits," Levy said. "They have real customers and a real business model."

Yet an analysis of the EDD reports shows that the tech sector has not escaped the boom-and-bust cycle.

During 2001, the year of the dot-com bust, when internet startups and numerous other tech companies cratered, tech industry job totals in the Bay Area shrank by 14.9% while overall, all jobs in the Bay Area declined 6.1 percent.

From the height of the dot-com bubble at the end of 2000 to the depths of the Great Recession in 2009, the technology industry in the Bay Area melted down and lost 26% -- a jaw-dropping one-fourth -- of its jobs. During those same nine years, the overall Bay Area job market shrank by 12.9 percent.

The tech sector's subsequent rebound, though, has been even more striking than its implosion.


In the recent economic expansion, from the recession trough in 2009 through May 2019, the Bay Area's tech industry has soared by a dramatic 57 percent, while the number of all jobs in the Bay Area jobs has surged by a sturdy 29.8 percent.

During the years since the dot-com peaks, the Bay Area has become only slightly more reliant on the tech industry, the EDD figures show. In May, technology jobs accounted for 20.5% of all the jobs in the Bay Area. That compared with the 19.9% share that tech employment commanded at the end of 2000.

Over nearly two decades, the San Francisco-San Mateo region has captured a noticeably larger share of the tech jobs in the Bay Area, while Santa Clara County has a smaller share, this new organization's analysis of the EDD figures has determined.

In 2000, 51% of the Bay Area's tech jobs were located in Santa Clara County, while 26.3% were in the San Francisco-San Mateo metro area. By the end of 2018, 45.3% of the nine-county region's tech jobs were in Santa Clara County and 35% were in San Francisco-San Mateo, the analysis showed.


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