Technology jobs and the economic prosperity they bring are being concentrated in fewer US cities, according to a new report from The Brookings Institution.
Since 2005, five metro areas — Boston, the San Francisco Bay Area, San Jose, Seattle, and San Diego — accounted for 90 percent of all US growth in “innovation sector” jobs, which Brookings defines as employment in the top science, technology, engineering, and math industries that include extensive research and development spending. Meanwhile, 343 metro areas lost a share of these jobs in that same period.
The result: Wealth and productivity are becoming even more concentrated in fewer, primarily coastal cities. One-third of the nation’s innovation jobs resides in just 16 counties; half are concentrated in 41 counties. These jobs are high-paying and contribute to overall faster wage growth in the areas they’re located, than in areas with fewer innovation jobs. They also result in a lot of secondary work — jobs created to help serve those workers.
These locations draw educated people and investment money from other places. Some 40 percent of adults have Bachelor’s degrees in the top 5 percent of metro areas with innovation job concentration, compared with 26 percent in the bottom three quartiles.
* These are the “innovation industries”…
• Basic chemical manufacturing
• Pesticide, fertilizer, and agricultural chemical
• Pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing
• Computer and peripheral equipment manufacturing
• Communications equipment manufacturing
• Semiconductor and other electronic components
• Navigational, measuring, electromedical, and control
• Aerospace product and parts manufacturing
• Software publishers
• Satellite telecommunications
• Data processing, hosting, and related services
• Other information services
• Scientific research and development services
* What Brookings calls “superstar metro areas“…
• New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA
• San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA
• Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA
• Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA
• Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH
• San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA
• Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX
• Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV
• San Diego-Carlsbad, CA
• Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
• Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD
• Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ
• Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI
• Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX
• Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA
• Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA
• Austin-Round Rock, TX
• St. Louis, MO-IL
• Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
• Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL
So, we’re 10th out of 20. Not bad.
* Now for the bad news…
(M)etro areas such Chicago and Wichita have both shed innovation jobs and national share
According to the study, the Chicago metro area lost 12,582 innovation industries jobs between 2015 and 2017. The most jobs lost of any metro area and the second-highest percentage of job loss.