February 19, 2008 / 6:30 PM / 11 years ago

Silicon Valley adds jobs

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Silicon Valley continued to reverse the post dotcom-era slump last year, adding 28,000 jobs and raising median income levels, but a struggling U.S. economy is causing some instability among workers in the tech-heavy region, says a new report released on Tuesday.

The 2008 Silicon Valley Index, an annual report jointly prepared by two nonprofits, Joint Venture Silicon Valley and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, measures the strength of the region’s economy.

Jobs in Silicon Valley — home to Google Inc (GOOG.O) and Yahoo Inc YHOO.O — grew 2.1 percent during the 12 months leading up to the first quarter of 2007, faster than the 0.9 percent rate of job growth in California and 1.4 percent nationally, the report said.

Median income also rose 2 percent to $82,486, faster than the national growth rate of 1.5 percent. Silicon Valley’s per capita income is 57 percent higher than the national average and growing faster than the rest of the country, the report said.

The cost of living is also 47 percent higher than in the rest of the country, the report said.

Venture capital investment grew nearly 11 percent, with the Valley getting 62 percent of all “cleantech” venture dollars invested in the state. Investments in clean technologies, such as solar power and biofuels, have spurred the region’s economic renewal, the report said.

But the number of mid-wage jobs, which make up about half of all jobs in the Valley, has been shrinking in recent years, the report said.

People working as secretaries, customer service representatives, engineering and biological technicians, and other mid-wage jobs that fetch between $30,000 and $80,000 a year are experiencing instability, with many of them moving to smaller jobs that have fewer benefits.

Stock market volatility, the subprime mortgage mess and fears of a U.S. recession are further adding to the woes of mid-wage workers, the report said.

“The Index reflects good news for some in Silicon Valley, rough patches for others and heart wrenching choices for many,” said Emmett Carson, president of the Community Foundation.

About 75 percent fewer people left Silicon Valley in 2007 than 2006. At the same time, more than 38,000 people came to live in the region.

Editing by Andre Grenon

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