Silicon Valley job growth returns to the dot-com days

Silicon Valley FLICKR

Most of the country may be crawling its way out of the recession, but in Silicon Valley, the job market is booming. That's according to the 2013 Silicon Valley Index, which found that job growth in the region have returned to levels last seen during the dot-com boom of the late 1990s. Released Tuesday by Joint Venture Silicon Valley and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, the report credits the tech industry with spurring economic growth across the broader Bay Area, but persistent and widening inequalities have prevented some minority groups from reaping the benefits.

In 2012, the Bay Area's nine counties added a total of 92,000 jobs, 46 percent of which — about 42,000 — came from Silicon Valley. Between 2011 and 2012, the Valley saw a 3.6 percent job growth rate, compared to 1.7 percent statewide. Incomes in the region rose by 2.2 percent over the year, while quarterly employment grew by four percent — the largest in a decade, according to the report.

"Prodigious job creation."

Joint Venture Silicon Valley president Russell Hancock says total jobs in Santa Clara country have returned to levels not seen since the dot-com boom. "This is prodigious job creation," Hancock told the San Jose Mercury News. "The growth is crazy and it's getting crazier."

Hancock went on to note that the industry's growth has spilled over into other sectors and cities such as San Francisco, though this rising tide hasn't lifted all boats. Whites, Asians, and some other groups in the region saw their real per capita income rise between 2009 and 2011, but African-Americans and Hispanics have seen their incomes drastically fall. Inflation-adjusted income for African-Americans fell by 18 percent over this period, while Latinos have seen a five percent decrease.

"a valley of haves, and a valley of have-nots."

As this gap continues to widen, Silicon Valley's once-proud middle class is suddenly shrinking. According to the report, the number of households earning $100,000 or more per year increased by one percent in 2012, while those earning less than $35,000 grew by two percent.

"Silicon Valley is two valleys," Hancock said. "There is a valley of haves, and a valley of have-nots."

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