George Avalos, Oakland Tribine:
Silicon Valley’s job growth has returned to dot-com boom levels and San Francisco has emerged as a major new tech hub. […] Last year, the nine-county Bay Area added about 92,000 jobs. Of that total, Silicon Valley—defined as Santa Clara and San Mateo counties—accounted for 46 percent. “This is prodigious job creation,” [Russell] Hancock [of Joint Venture Silicon Valley] said. “The growth is crazy and it’s getting crazier.”
In fact, Santa Clara County is now above its job totals of the dot-com boom, and this time around San Francisco is in on the action in a big way. (In the previous boom, this wasn’t so much the case.) However, big surprise:
“Income growth in Silicon Valley is uneven,” [the report] said. “The gap between high and low income earners is increasing.”
I have mixed feelings about this.
On one hand, this is just about the best time to have found myself looking for work: the chances are pretty good that I can find something in my industry that I actually like and that pays well. Ideally something that doesn’t require me to commute from Silicon Valley into San Francisco, but even so.
On the other hand: booms end. And they rarely seem to end in soft landings. They frequently end in the other kind of “boom,” i.e., leaving the area feeling—and looking—kinda bombed out. There’s a growing disconnect between housing prices, both renting and owning, and income even on the high end. A family making the median household income in Santa Clara County would have trouble qualifying for the mortgage on a house at the median price in the area; that’s a largely hidden but significant imbalance that will come crashing down.
Not right now. Probably not within the next year, or two, or three. But sooner or later. Boom.