Note: This is our latest article for our Forbes contributor site.
Last week, EMSI released an interactive map that sheds light on pillar industries for each of America’s 100 largest metros. Hospitals and education in Boston, management of companies in Minneapolis-St. Paul, military jobs in San Diego – these are just a few examples of sectors that drive their economies.
But perhaps the biggest takeaway from the map is that while the regions with the most vibrant economies don’t just specialize in one industry or cluster of industries, almost all of them have established tech sectors.
In Salt Lake City, software publishing jobs are growing rapidly. San Jose is a mecca for software and computer manufacturing. Austin has a bustling computer systems design industry and one of the nation’s most-concentrated semiconductor manufacturing workforces.
These three metros, along with Grand Rapids, have led the U.S. in post-recession per capita job growth, thanks in part to a strong nucleus of software and computer firms.
But what role does the tech sector have in creating jobs elsewhere in these metros? Just consider San Francisco. It has 30,000 jobs specifically in computer system design services — a detailed industry with a jobs multiplier of 4.35. This means for every one job in the industry, another 3.35 are created in the San Francisco economy. That’s a powerful ripple effect.
But it’s not just Salt Lake, San Jose and Austin. For half of the 20 metros that have added the most jobs per capita since 2010, software publishing is one of the major driver industries. This includes Raleigh and Durham-Chapel Hill in North Carolina, Provo-Orem (another thriving Utah metro) and traditional tech stalwarts San Francisco and Seattle.
In addition to software publishing, computer systems design consistently pops up as an important industry for big metros based on total jobs, concentration, job growth and average earnings per job. In the sprawling Dallas metro, for example, this sector accounts for nearly 60,000 total jobs and has grown 32 percent since the start of 2010. And in San Francisco, computer systems design has accounted for nearly 15 percent of all new jobs created the last three-plus years – a stunning share of job growth for such a high-paying industry.
But what role does the tech sector have in creating jobs elsewhere in these metros? Just consider San Francisco. It has 30,000 jobs specifically in computer system design services — a detailed industry with a jobs multiplier of 4.35. This means for every one job in the industry, another 3.35 are created elsewhere in the San Francisco economy. That’s a powerful ripple effect.
Even in fast-growing metros where software publishing and computer systems design aren’t driver industries, tech jobs are an emerging part of their economies:
- The Grand Rapids metro, No. 2 in per capita job growth, is a hotspot for manufacturing and health care jobs. Still, computer systems design accounts for 2,200 jobs in Grand Rapids, up 6 percent, and other professional, technical, and scientific services industries are showing robust growth.
- In Houston, No. 5 on the list, computer systems design has added almost 4,000 jobs since 2010 (14 percent growth), while the smaller software publishers industry has expanded 9 percent.
- Nashville, ranked sixth, has seen a computer and software jobs boom. Computer system design is up 32 percent and makes up nearly 7,000 total jobs; software publisher jobs have mushroomed 22 percent and pay on average $190,000 per year (salary plus supplemental compensation).
The growth of tech industries has ratcheted up the demand for all sorts of IT jobs. EMSI’s most recent data shows the fastest-growing detailed STEM fields – jobs in science, technology, engineering and math – are computer-related.
In the second quarter, job listings for software engineers were up 40 percent year over year, network and computer systems administrators were up 17 percent and business intelligence analysts to process big data were up 24 percent.
All these data points make clear that the tech sector is a good place to be right now. And the metros where tech is a big deal are benefitting.
To see others trends in tech and dozens of other industries by metro, check out the interactive map. For more information on EMSI, contact Josh Wright (email@example.com). Follow Wright on Twitter at @ByJoshWright and EMSI at @DesktopEcon.