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Tech-heavy SF Bay Area props up California economy!

Container Ship, San Francisco Bay

new report from the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis suggests that, in 2014, the San Francisco Bay Area almost single-handedly propped up the economy of the entire state. Silicon Valley, centered in San Jose, saw a 6.7% increase in economic output last year, which was the highest growth rate recorded in Western states and the 9th highest among the 381 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) of the United States. As described in the Sacramento Bee article:

Only a few, relatively small MSAs involved in the oil and gas boom in other states, principally Texas, outpaced Silicon Valley’s expansion last year – and that was before the petroleum sector saw setbacks from declining prices this year.

The San Jose region was joined by other Bay Area MSAs in recording economic gains above the 2.3 percent national expansion in economic output and California’s overall 2.8 percent increase.

The San Francisco-Oakland region (San Francisco, Alameda, San Mateo, Contra Costa and Marin counties) saw a 5.2 percent expansion, followed by Napa at 4 percent and Santa Rosa at 3.3 percent.

The state of California, as a whole, was outpaced by only ONE MSA outside of the Bay Area: the Riverside-San Bernardino MSA, with 2.9%. The Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim MSA registered 2.3% barely matching the expansion of the U.S. as a whole. Without the Bay Area gains, California as a whole would have fallen behind the nation.

On the downside, THREE small MSAs in the San Joaquin Valley saw actual DECLINES: Visalia-Porterville, Madera, and Merced. All of the other MSAs in the state fell in between, but all were lower than the nation as a whole.

Despite its ho-hum performance, the MSA centered in Los Angeles retained its rank as the nation’s second largest economic region, behind the New York City metropolitan area.

The Los Angeles region generated $867 billion in economic activity last year ($798 billion after inflation adjustment), 37 percent of the state’s economic output, according to an analysis by the Legislative Analyst’s Office. The San Francisco-Oakland MSA had the nation’s seventh largest regional economy at $412 billion, and San Jose was 19th at $214 billion.

Together, those two Bay Area MSA’s generated 27 percent of the state’s output.

If you have been a regular reader and have followed such things as Silicon Valley class-action lawsuits by tech employees, you can understand how tech companies have racked up these impressive gains.

-Bill at

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