http://www.sfgate.com/ Return to regular view
State's technology employment slows but still grows
Verne Kopytoff, Chronicle Staff Writer
Tuesday, September 17, 2002
©2002 San Francisco Chronicle.
Despite a bad economy, the technology industry still managed to add jobs in California last year, thanks to surprising growth in some unlikely cities -- including Oakland, Sacramento and Los Angeles -- according to a report released Monday.
The study, issued by the America Electronics Association, showed that the state's rate of technology job growth declined sharply to 1.3 percent from as high as 13 percent during the dot-com boom. And, as expected, employment in several of the industry's principal hubs declined.
San Jose, San Francisco and Orange County all lost technology jobs, according to the report. The decline in those cities was the first since the AEA began tracking jobs in 1995.
San Jose lost 4,961 technology jobs last year, leaving it with a total of 280,842. San Francisco was down 2,139 to 98,354 jobs. Orange County lost 1,075 jobs for a total of 104,618.
Despite those declines, California gained 12,385 tech jobs overall, according to the report. That compares with an increase of 113,049 in the 2000 survey.
Oakland was one of the few bright spots, adding 2,140 new jobs last year for a total of 82,421. Sacramento had 581 new jobs, or 38,741 in all. Los Angeles added 2,764 jobs, giving the city a total of 174,523 tech workers.
Top Cybercities 2000 2001 Change 1) San Jose 285,803 280,842 -4,961 2) Los Angeles 171,759 174,523 +2,764 3) Orange County 105,693 104,618 -1,075 4) San Francisco 100,493 98,354 -2,139 5) Oakland 80,281 82,421 +2,140 6) San Diego 74,963 76,001 +1,038 7) Sacramento 38,160 38,741 +581 8) Ventura 17,932 17,851 -81 . Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
"It would be tempting to say that Oakland and Sacramento are emerging as the new high-tech centers," said Mark Albertson, senior vice president for California and the West for the American Electronics Association. "But the dynamics may be that companies are seeking lower-cost locations for their firms."
Michael Dardia, vice president and economist for the Sphere Institute, a public policy group in Burlingame, added that Oakland and Sacramento are home to companies better positioned to survive the technology downturn. He said they have fewer Internet companies and telecommunications firms, which were once the backbone of San Francisco and San Jose, respectively.
Dardia said the AEA study findings show that the technology industry is near the bottom of a trough.
"The good news is that there are no signs of things getting worse," he said.
"But each month that spending growth doesn't increase, it puts people that much closer to the edge."
The AEA report examined eight California cities and the state overall, using data primarily from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Categories examined included total payroll, number of companies and average wages, though those were all updated only through 2000.
For example, the average wage for a technology worker in California in 2000 was $99,175, up from $85,842. The number of tech companies in the state that year was 32,650, up from 31,900.
E-mail Verne Kopytoff at firstname.lastname@example.org.
©2002 San Francisco Chronicle. Page B - 1