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The Silicon Valley Exodus


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car with luggage on roof on the Golden Gate Bridge, illustration

Many Bay Area tech workers have formally requested or inquired about relocation.

Credit: Michal Bednarski / The Wall Street Journal

There are signs that the pandemic has started an exodus from the San Francisco Bay Area, a shift that could reshape the area and other U.S. cities.

Tech companies are giving employees more freedom to work from anywhere. Employees are taking them up on the option to relocate. While it's too soon to measure the total net outflow, it's already affecting real-estate prices. Rents have started falling for the first time in years.

Some researchers say it wouldn't take that many tech workers departing for there to be ripple effects.

"Even just 5% I think would be a massive alteration," says Mark Muro, a senior fellow with the Brookings Institution. Regional economies around the U.S. could benefit from being home to remote workers from the biggest companies. The tech giants themselves could also benefit from more distributed recruitment strategies.

"I think that the tech companies have realized that they may be missing actual ideas or talent out in the rest of the country," Muro says.

From The Wall Street Journal
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