Silicon Valley loses its shine

Silicon Valley lost 127,000 jobs, nine per cent of its employment, from the first quarter of 2001 to the second quarter of 2002, according to nonprofit group Joint Venture Silicon Valley losses were particularly acute among industries like software, semiconductors, computer and telecom hardware – which lost 22 percent of their jobs in a one-year period from 2001 to 2002.

Real average pay in Silicon Valley declined 6 percent, to ‘$62,500, but remained sharply higher than the US average pay of $38,400.

“We’ve been through a boom-bust cycle,” said economist Doug Henton. But the valley also faces long-term shift from hardware to software, he said. “That’s a natural shift, but the average size software company is 20 people; the average hardware company is 200. So you’re talking about a lot of little companies.”

Silicon Valley has endured major slumps before, and in each case has embraced a new innovation that stimulated a fresh growth cycle.

Henton says the next boom in the valley may be biomedical technology.

But the next big innovation could as well come from Finland or Singapore. “The region faces a really different global competitive environment than it has historically,” said Professor AnnaLee Saxenian. “Silicon Valley does’nt really monopolize high-tech innovation in the way it did earlier.”

-The New York Times-

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