A new presentation from the Bay Area Council Economic Institute combined with a data visualization from Engine (disclosure: I'm on the steering committee for Engine, though I had absolutely nothing to do with this project and only found out about it after it was done) looks at the nature of high tech jobs in the US today -- and it shows just how important innovation and tech jobs are to the economy. Even as we've gone through difficult economic times, high tech jobs have continually and significantly outpaced growth of the rest of the private sector:
Perhaps more importantly, it shows that high tech jobs aren't just concentrated in a few key areas, like Silicon Valley, New York, Boston and Seattle -- but really are found pretty much all across the country:
And, in fact, the presentation highlighted some unexpected areas of the country showing very large high tech growth in just the past few years:
A lot of the places on that list above aren't areas that you'd consider to be "tech hubs." Now, of course, that last slide is just showing percentage growth, so if a place is starting from a small number, that growth percentage could be somewhat distorted. But when looking at the whole of the data, it certainly seems to suggest that high tech job growth is happening across the country -- and that's a good thing.
The problem, of course, is that it often seems like the high tech industry is ignored in Congress in favor of some other industries that have a much longer history of lobbying. But if the federal government is serious about claiming that job growth is the key to our economy, then it really needs to start paying attention to these facts, and recognize that the tech industry is not just limited to Silicon Valley, and is creating jobs across the country. That shouldn't be surprising of course, since we live in a digital age, and all sorts of jobs are quickly becoming
tech jobs. But it does mean that we need policies in place that allow this kind of shift to continue happening, rather than stifling it with legacy policies that just protect old and obsolete businesses who fail to adapt.
If you'd like to play around with some of the data in an interactive format, the folks at Engine have set up a neat interactive map
to dig into where the high tech jobs are located in the US today, even letting you look back at how it's changed over the past decade.