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Here is a new chart of technology sector employment data from last year’s analysis. The chart does not present new data but another way of looking at the data that was shown in tabular form in the earlier analysis. It is prompted by a Business Insider Chart of the Day from a speech yesterday by Richard Fisher, head of the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank (See references below).

The chart here shows the relative change in technology sector employment from January 1990 to September 2009 for the Combined Statistical Areas (CSAs) that have technology sector employment greater than 100,000 jobs. To represent relative growth, the curve for each CSA is normalized to the individual CSA’s technology sector employment in January 1990. Chart 1 in the earlier analysis shows the absolute employment levels for the CSAs. The data was the latest available for last year’s analysis from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages. Only private sector employment numbers are represented.

Click chart to see full size.

Immediately obvious is the major growth rate of the Seattle CSA (blue line), ~+250% since 1990. Its compound annual growth rate (CAGR) is ~5% (see Table 1 from the earlier analysis), and represents an increase of ~71K jobs over the period (see Table 2).

The Atlanta CSA (plum) has the next highest annual growth rate at ~3% with ~40K jobs added. However, Atlanta’s growth occurred in the 1990s and is relatively flat in the 2000s. Atlanta is the smallest of the technology employment sectors of this list.

As discussed earlier, the Washington DC CSA (orange) shows annual growth of ~2.5% with a truly impressive ~100K jobs added, ~+160% since 1990. Note that only private sector jobs are counted here, but of course many are in support of government activities. Most of the DC area jobs are concentrated in Northern Virginia. This impressive growth has also prompted a startup community and an influx of venture capital.

The Dallas CSA (dark red) is fourth, ~1% annual growth rate, ~20K jobs added.

Only the above mentioned 4 CSAs have grown at a faster rate than the US as a whole (gold line).

The San Francisco CSA (dark blue), which includes Silicon Valley, also maintained positive growth, though slightly less than the US as a whole. Nonetheless, the San Francisco CSA still has the largest and most concentrated technology sector employment compared to other CSAs (see Chart 2 in the earlier analysis).

The remaining CSAs, Chicago (teal), New York (pink), Boston (turquoise), and Los Angeles (violet), experienced negative growth in their technology employment.

During the past 2 decades, the Washington DC CSA overtook the Boston CSA in absolute number of technology sector jobs (Chart 1 orange and turquoise lines). And the Washington DC and the Seattle CSAs overtook Boston in concentration of technology sector jobs (Chart 2 orange, blue, and turquoise lines).

Also, Washington DC and Seattle are the only CSAs that in 2009 are at or near their all time technology employment highs set at the peak of the dot com boom in 2000.

Side Note

In his speech and with his chart, Dallas Federal Reserve Governor Richard Fisher made the point that the Dallas Federal Reserve District, which includes all of Texas and parts of Louisiana and New Mexico, grew jobs at a greater rate than other Federal Reserve Districts. Fisher attributed the Districts’ different job growth performance to the “fiscal and regulatory policies of the states”.

The superior growth and concentration of technology sector jobs in the Washington DC and Seattle CSAs compared to the Dallas CSA appear to be due to factors other than Fisher’s referenced regional fiscal and regulatory policies.

For another viewpoint on Texas, see a recent op ed from Paul Krugman.


1. In the earlier analysis, the 12 CSAs with technology sector employment greater than 80,000 were shown. Here, in order to simplify the chart, the 9 CSAs are shown with technology sector employment greater than 100,000. The 3 CSAs not shown above are Philadelphia, Minneapolis, and Denver.

2. The CSA line colors in the chart above correspond to the colors used in the earlier charts.

3. The data shown here ends on September 2009, which was near the bottom of the great recession. The technology sector has improved as the overall economy has improved. An updated analysis would be interesting.

[Note to self. Find some time to update with latest BLS data.]

4. Each of the Federal Reserve Districts represent larger geographic areas than CSAs and states (see map below).


Richard W. Fisher, President, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
A Need for Innovative Fiscal Policy (With a Nod to John Stemmons, Ronald Reagan and Paddy McCoy)
Remarks before the Stemmons Corridor Business Association, Dallas, Texas, February 8, 2011

Business Insider: Clusterstock Chart Of The Day
Here’s The REAL Reason The Dallas Fed Chief Is Against More QE
February 8, 2011

Paul Krugman
The Texas Omen
January 6, 2011, The New York Times.

Federal Reserve Banks
Frequently Asked Questions

Map of the twelve Federal Reserve Districts.

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