Superstar cities and all the others

  • The pandemic has pushed tech into a two-way economy between superstar cities and the rest.
  • Brookings research found that tech saw slower growth among superstars, while others saw job growth.
  • The future of these tech cities depends on the maturity of technology and remote working.

Tech workers are making their way across America.

New research from Brookings backs up anecdotal evidence that remote work has helped tech workers disperse as companies like Twitter and Spotify shut down, with some making working from home a permanent fixture.

Brookings researchers Mark Muro and Yang You found that the tech sector was once concentrated in “superstar cities” like the Bay Area, but has seen slower growth in these areas, while new cities emerge like New Orleans have experienced a technology boom. during the pandemic.

Muro told Insider that he had already seen a “winner become the most dynamic in which a short list of significant coastal metropolises not only captured and produced the bulk of tech growth, but actually increased their share of the world’s tech jobs.” country”.

The metros on this “shortlist” are “superstars” in tech jobs.

“Large and mostly fast-growing, these well-established hubs dominated the country’s tech growth in the early 2010s and gained dominance in the pre-pandemic years of 2015-2019,” Muro and You wrote in the report.

Now, he added, what has emerged is a two-way tech economy in which the “winner is the most dynamic” persists among the tech hubs of the past 20 years, in the face of rising star cities that are rapidly catching up with the giants. traditional. . Remote work, he said, is one of them.

According to Brookings research, eight metropolitan areas are considered tech superstars, such as Seattle and the Bay Area.

The following table highlights what tech job growth looked like in these superstars according to the authors’ analysis of employment data:

But the pandemic has dampened job growth at these superstar sites, though they remain strong places for tech employment despite the impact of the pandemic.

“Even amid the pandemic disruptions of 2020, these eight superstar metro areas still marginally increased their share of nationwide tech employment and were home to 38.4% of all U.S. tech jobs,” the authors wrote in a blog post.

But not all tech jobs fall within these eight US locations. There are nine metropolitan areas that the report notes as “less established hubs” than the eight superstars but “expanded rapidly in the years leading up to the pandemic.”

The metropolitan areas of Atlanta, Georgia, and Miami, Florida, are just two of nine mid-sized metropolitan areas considered tech rising stars, according to the report.

Muro and You find that these nine locations “fuelled the first year of the pandemic to generate positive growth and add a combined 14,000 tech jobs while slightly increasing their overall share of the country’s tech sector.”

Metro areas other than Brookings Superstars and Rising Stars also experienced tech sector growth from 2019 to 2020. For example, the McAllen, Texas metro area saw tech employment increase by 21.2% .

Brookings looked at the 100 largest metro areas and those with more than 1,000 tech workers in 2020. While some metro areas have seen rapid growth, others have actually seen a loss of tech workers, as shown in the following map. Superstars and rising stars are noted in parentheses as you hover over the map.

Muro and You wrote in their report that the big question that remains is whether this technological growth will spread further or is it a temporary disruption. Its future depends on two things, Muro said: if the technology matures and if remote working or even hybrid working becomes the norm.

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