2014 Release of Silicon Valley Index
On an annual basis, Joint Venture Silicon Valley, in partnership with the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, releases the Silicon Valley Index, a summary report that takes the temperature of the region’s economic strength and our community’s health, at the State of the Valley conference. This year, the annual conference was held on February 7. Highlights of the 2014 Silicon Valley Index indicate that Silicon Valley is continuing its four-year stretch of sustained job growth. Since 2007, the region has registered a 3.1% increase in employment totaling 42,791+ jobs, and is a leader in innovation and in high growth, high wage sectors. Leading the way is Internet & Information Services showing a nearly 20% increase in growth and adding 5,600 new jobs this past year that is spreading to other sectors. Patent registration, which are drivers of innovation, increased by 11% to 15,057 patents in 2012. The region’s share of venture capital, also important to innovation, continues to represent a significant portion of U.S. investment, increasing from 37% to 39% in 2013 and commanding 77% of the state’s share. But not all the news is good. Although Silicon Valley is considered one of the highest income regions in the country with a median household income of $90,415, not everyone shares in this prosperity. According to Dr. Emmett Carson, CEO and President of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, “Rising tides do not lift all boats.” Disparities in income and achievement continue to widen here and will hinder future growth. The distribution of income is eroding the middle class, with expansion in the upper and lower income brackets creating an hourglass economy. Intentional actions are required to impact this inequality that target 1) the mismatch around housing affordability where home affordability for potential first-time homebuyers fell in San Clara and San Mateo counties and rental rates have increased over the past three years; 2) education gaps where Silicon Valley high school graduation rates and percentage of graduates who meet UC/CSU requirements vary by race/ethnicity; and 3) income disparity across gender and race/ethnicity.