The state capital--not Silicon Valley--is the fastest growing region in
California's high-tech industry, which is spreading beyond San Jose and
into other Northern California cities, a new study shows.
Sacramento is the fastest-growing city in California for high-tech employment, with a 56 percent growth rate between 1990 and 1996, according to a report titled "California Cybercities" released today by the high-tech
trade group American Electronics
The study, conducted in 18 metropolitan California cities with at least
1,000 high-tech industry employees, shows that Fresno is the second-fastest
growing computer industry region, with a 54 percent growth rate between 1990
and 1996. Fresno is the only city in the top five fastest-growing not
located in Northern California.
Closer to the Bay Area, Vallejo-Napa area jobs grew at a 46 percent rate,
Top California cybercities, 1990-1996
Tech employment growth
Source: American Electronics Association
while San Francisco high-tech employment grew at a 37 percent clip and Santa
Cruz, a college and beach community, saw a growth rate of 28 percent between 1990 and 1996.
Sacramento, known more for its government and agriculture employment than
as a technology-rich region, added nearly 11,000 new computer industry jobs to the high-tech economy during the six-year span.
"The cost of living here is affordable and it's an ideal location halfway
between the mountains and the ocean," said Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber of
Commerce spokeswoman Marlee Miller.
Miller said the Sacramento area's largest employers include: Hewlett-Packard with 4,800 employees in
neighboring Roseville, Packard Bell
NEC with 3,800, and Intel with 3,700
in nearby Folsom.
The growth rate in the San Jose metropolitan area may be slowing, but the
region still employs 221,000 high-tech workers, or about 30 percent of the
724,000 high-tech jobs in California state. Although Sacramento added about 5,600 semiconductor workers between 1990 and 1996 and is the No. 2 employer in the state's chip industry, San Jose still has eight times as many
semiconductor industry employees as California's capital city.
The average high-tech employee in San Jose earns $72,000, according to the
But while Silicon Valley gets all the headlines, Southern California also
is a vital part of the state's technology-based economy.
Many businesses in the defense industry-oriented Los Angeles region retooled after military cutbacks and recession in the early 1990s. Now Southern California
accounts for more than 40 percent of the total number of high-tech jobs in California, the AEA report found.
The study found that, in general, high-tech employees earn 57 percent more than the average private sector worker.