Has Silicon Valley Reached Its Peak?

SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) – There’s a surprising new claim that Silicon Valley’s biggest and best days may be over.

Bloomberg News is out with a report that says the valley has hit its high-point, and is now fading.

While economists say there has been a sharp decline in the job growth rate over the past year, they say you can’t read too much into short-term numbers.

They say massive construction projects, like Apple’s new campus, often mark an economic peak.

But the strength of the Silicon Valley economy has been stunning. And companies are doubling down, with Apple opening its brand new Spaceship campus in Cupertino this year and Google looking to bring perhaps 20,000 jobs to downtown San Jose.

Stephen Levy, the director of the Center For Continuing Study of the California Economy, said, “So no, I do not believe we are in demise.”

While job growth has been down in 2017, some of that can be explained by corporate moves and consolidation.

But what drives the Silicon Valley region more than anything? The workforce.

Brian Brennan with the Silicon Valley Leadership Group said, “For those companies that are looking for the best talent, this is where you have to come.”

According to a study by the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, there’s also more venture capital investment here than anywhere else in the nation.

But there’s no question that housing costs — and long commutes — are a barrier to future growth.

Brennan said, “In order to bring someone from another part of the country here, and have a comparable standard of living that you would have even in Seattle or Denver or Austin — these are nice places — you have to pay a 30 percent premium on labor. That is hard to do.”

But, so far, not so hard as to stop the other powerful forces bringing and keeping tech in the valley.

Levy said, “It will grow as large as we can build the housing and improve the ability of people to get to and from work.”

So where all of this growth will end, at this point, nobody knows.

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