Even worse, at a time of such rapid growth nationwide, the Buffalo Niagara region’s technology sector is shrinking, one of just a handful of metro areas across the country to actually lose jobs in such a fast-expanding industry. With fewer jobs, technology accounts for a shrinking share of the region’s overall employment.
In short, the tech boom is passing the Buffalo Niagara region by. That hurts, especially in a region that needs 21st Century jobs more than most places.
That matters because digital services jobs – in fields like software publishing, data processing, computer systems design and web publishing – account for more than half of the country’s new jobs in advanced industries between 2013 and 2015, according to Brookings researchers.
Nationwide, those fast-growing technology industries have been adding jobs at about 5.5 percent to 6 percent a year, more than three times faster than the U.S. economy’s overall hiring rate of less than 2 percent.
But it’s even worse in the Buffalo Niagara region. Here, those key technology sectors actually are shrinking, shedding an estimated 200 jobs during that same three-year period.
Yet the Buffalo Niagara region isn’t alone. Muro and his co-author, Sifan Liu, found that there is a steep divide within the tech sector between the haves and the have nots.
The technology hotbeds – places like San Francisco and San Jose – are growing faster and capturing a larger portion of the industry’s rising employment. The technology have-nots, including places like the Buffalo Niagara region, are struggling just to keep what little they have.
“While tech employment is growing all over America, it really isn’t spreading out,” Muro and Liu wrote. “Instead, the tech-employment rich – namely San Francisco and San Jose – are getting richer. Agglomeration economies are everything.”