Silicon Valley’s innovation sector – that means anything to do with the Internet, information services, software, biotechnology, cleantech, medical comms and devices, aerospace and electronics manufacturing – now accounts for one-quarter of the workforce in Valley, the highest proportion in the US (Boston and Seattle don’t even come close), writes Steve Mullins. Plus all those tech businesses account for one-third of the area’s economic output.
Wait, there’s more. Over half of Silicon Valley’s STEM workforce - science, technology, engineering and mathematics - and nearly 70% of its software developers were foreign-born in 2013. Also, the Valley accounted for 30% of venture capital deals and almost half of VC investment in the US in the first nine months of last year. That’s according to a new report from the Silicon Valley Leadership Group/Silicon Valley Community Foundation.
But the upsides have a downside. House sale prices spiked 33% in Silicon Valley between 2012 and 2014, while the price per square foot was higher than in other main innovation regions. Plus there’s transport. Average commuting times rose faster than elsewhere at 8% between 2010 and 2013, versus 5.5% in Seattle, and 4% in Austin. What does that mean? “Commuters in Silicon Valley wasted 84 hours per year for a half-hour commute in 2013 from delays from traffic congestion, lagging only Southern California at 90 hours per year, the report says.
The answer to such problems is simple. The report advocates mobilising business voices in support of additional housing development in the region, and pushing for a permanent funding source for affordable housing at the state level.
What, Silicon Valley asking for Big Government handouts! Libertarians must know that’s corporate welfare.