Silicon Valley has the same # of jobs as it did in 1995

A view of downtown San Jose, the self-proclaim...

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Total job growth has been nil over 15 years.

At about 850,000, the number of jobs in the valley today is about the same as in 1995, the year Yahoo was founded and three years before Google was born. Over the same period, the population has grown by 20 percent.

Lots of economics verbiage, much of it hand waving, expended trying to explain until we get to:

When Khanh Le and his partner, Khamvong Thammasouk, co-founded San Jose touch-technology startup Borei in February 2009, “We decided the best way to build a company is with research and development, sales and marketing and intellectual property creation at our headquarters here in San Jose, and manufacturing overseas, which is very similar to a lot of companies. There’s nothing new about that. It’s just the reality.”

via Silicon Valley jobs: A recurring cycle of boom and bust –

Similarly, much high skilled software development has been moved overseas.

The general response is to say we all need even more education. Today’s Master’s degree has become the Bachelor’s degree of the 1970s[1].

Home grown innovation is being exported – and government stimulus checks used to buy consumer goods made in China – are serving to stimulate overseas economies. Here in Spokane we seek to create an innovation-based economy  – but we may end up running faster and faster only to be stuck mostly in the same place?

At some point, leadership needs a no-holds barred discussion about what’s happening and what policy choices we need to make.


[1] In the early 1970s about 12% of the population had earned a 4 year college degree. In the 25 to 29 age group today, the percentage is about 1 in 3. Today, about 10% earn a Master’s degree or higher (in some fields, the ratio is much higher), which is about how many earned a 4 year degree in the early 1970s.  Thus, the Masters degree is roughly equivalent to the Bachelor’s degree 35 years ago.


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