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U.S. Tech Work Decentralizes from 'Superstar' Coastal Cities

growth rates of selected U.S. metro areas

Signals suggest a diffusion of tech jobs to lower-cost or high-amenity locations.

Credit: Brookings Metro

Tech work in America has for decades remained highly concentrated in a short list of coastal cities such as San Francisco, Seattle, and New York, but a report from Brookings Metro finds employment rising in a short list of eight "superstar" metro areas and a handful of midsized "rising star" metro areas.

Most U.S. regions and states and more than half of U.S. metro areas have benefited from tech sector growth throughout the last decade. Between 2010 and 2019, 48 out of 50 states and 289 out of the nation's 384 metro areas have seen positive employment growth in the sector.

The trends reinforce the impression that the pandemic disruption has somewhat reallocated tech activity among cities. Some of the data suggests tech could be on the brink of spreading out, prompted by remote work. Specifically, the continued growth of the rising star metro areas — as well as the accelerated job growth of dozens of other metro areas during the pandemic — suggests the possibility in the coming years of a genuine adjustment of tech's highly concentrated geography.

From Brookings Institution
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