Metro Seattle ranks No. 9 in new report on information sector employment

A new report finds Metro Seattle continues to shine in tech employment. At the New Geography blog, Joel Kotkin and Michael Shires cite science fiction writer William Gibson’s observation that the future is not “evenly distributed.” They report,

In the 52 largest metropolitan areas that we studied, information employment declined for roughly half from 2009 through 2014.

What characterizes the winners?

By far the biggest winners in the information sweepstakes are areas that developed a strong engineering base before the rise of the Internet.

While the biggest gains are posted in Silicon Valley, metro Seattle has done well.

Other traditional tech centers that have thrived in the new era include No. 9 Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, Wash., where information employment has grown a healthy 9.2% since 2009…

Our “Achieve” priority emphasizes the importance of postsecondary education and STEM skills to maintaining the region’s innovation cluster. Washington still imports talent to an extraordinary degree. Continuous improvement in K-12 and postsecondary education and training can help expand opportunity to Washington residents and satisfy the talent needs of our thriving innovation economy.

At the Business Climate blog, Emily McMackin examines the Kotkin data and notes that lower cost tech hubs are gaining ground

The study concludes that the best prospects for jobs in the future seem to be tech-heavy cities that offer enough affordability to allow companies to easily grow and expand their workforces. In the future, Kotkin surmises that even tech giants like Google, Intel and others may consider shifting employment to tech centers where the cost of doing business is less and people can afford to live.

Essentially, the findings confirm the Benchmarks for a Better Washington goal:

Make [Washington] a top 10 state for quality of life and innovation and ensure it is not one of the 10 most expensive states in which to do business. 

Striking the balance will expand the culture of opportunity and extend shared prosperity to every part of our state. It is a goal within our reach.