Silicon Valley Job Growth at Highest Level Since Dot-com Bubble Burst

AP Photo/Jeff Chiu
AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

California’s Employment Development Department (EDD) announced that job growth in tech-strong Santa Clara County, a.k.a. Silicon Valley, hit 5.2 percent in February. Employment growth is now at the highest point since the Dot-com Bubble in 2001.

Silicon Valley’s economy continues to be red-hot, and leads the nation with extraordinary growth in jobs, income, innovation, venture capital investment and a 52 percent increase in foreign immigration, according to the recently released 2015 Silicon Valley Index by JointVenture Silicon Valley and Silicon Valley Community Foundation.

According to the Index, a comprehensive analysis of last year’s growth of Silicon Valley shows the region added nearly 58,000 new jobs–the highest growth rate since 2000–along with 42,000 new residents, average annual earnings of $116,000, venture capital investments higher than any other year since 2000, 17,000 new patent registrations and more than 16 million square feet of new commercial building space approved.

“The world’s hottest regional economy keeps getting hotter,” said Russell Hancock, President and CEO of Joint Venture. “We’re poised now to blow through all the employment, venture capital and patent records that were set during the crazy dot-com period, only this time we haven’t spiked into it.

“Most striking of all is the stunning emergence of San Francisco,” added Hancock. “The City has always been a thriving micro-economy across the traditional sectors, but today it has to be said that San Francisco and Silicon Valley have become twin engines in driving the region’s innovation and entrepreneurial activity.”

The Silicon Valley is being driven by venture capital investments that are estimated to have reached over $21 billion in 2014, the highest since 2000. As some of those investments mature, 23 of the 275 U.S. initial public offerings (IPOs) on U.S. exchanges in 2014 were by Silicon Valley companies. There were also 560 merger and acquisition deals closed in Silicon Valley, and 403 involving San Francisco companies.

In the latest full year numbers regarding innovation, Silicon Valley companies filed 16,975 patent registrations in 2013, 1,910 more than in 2012. About 40 percent of patents were in computers, data processing and information storage, while 24 percent were in communications.

Average annual earnings in Silicon Valley as of Q2 2014, including wages and supplements, were $116,033. By comparison, the figure for San Francisco was $104,881; for the nine-County Bay Area, $96,663; for California, $70,847; and for the United States, $61,489.

Home prices jumped by 7.5 percent in 2014, with a median home sale price of $757,585, about $360,000 higher than the median price throughout the state. The average rental rate was $2,333 per month, 11 percent higher than in 2013.

According to the JointVenture Report, “The amount of approved development hit skyscraper levels in FY 2013-14 to 12.9 million square feet–nearly twice the floor area of the Pentagon, the largest U.S. office building.”

Stephen Levy, Director of the Palo Alto-based Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy commented on the most recent EDD report, “This is the second highest pace of annual job growth on record. The growth is persisting.”

Other top job growth centers in America trailed far behind Silicon Valley last month. Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas only grew by 4.6 percent; Orlando, Florida by 4.2 percent; and Houston by 3.6 percent.


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