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Most U.S. tech jobs clustered in just 5 major cities

Job growth in tech clustered in a few cities

Although the high-tech industry remains an important source of employment growth in the U.S., many of those jobs are concentrated in a handful of cities, a new report has found.

Between 2005 and 2017, five coastal cities — Boston, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose and Seattle — accounted for more than 90% of the tech jobs created in the U.S. over that period, according to a report from the Brookings Institution and the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. Together, they account for roughly one-fifth of all tech employment in the nation. That means that one-third of tech jobs today are situated in only 16 counties.

The metros that have enjoyed the lion's share of tech-related job growth have sophisticated economies, including access to educated workers, established supply chains and robust infrastructure. 

Yet that trend also works against smaller cites and less-developed U.S. regions, excluding them from the economic gains associated with a burgeoning tech sector. The bottom 90% of metro areas saw their share of tech work decrease over the study period, Brookings found.

"There is a real downside to this clustering effect," Jill Schlesinger, business analyst at CBS News, told CBS This Morning. 

Why are more people in West Coast cities living in tents, cars and on the street?

To help spark tech industry growth in other parts of the country, Brookings wants the federal government to plow as much as $100 billion into 10 non-coast cities across the U.S. "[T]he nation needs — as one initiative among others — a massive federal effort to transform a short list of 'heartland' metro areas into self-sustaining 'growth centers' that will benefit entire regions," the study authors wrote. 

Schlesinger said there are other costs to clustering jobs in a few "star" cities, including driving up housing prices and increasing homelessness. Tech hubs like Seattle, home to Amazon and Microsoft, has the nation's third-highest number of homeless people in the country due in part to rising rents.  

In June, Google said it will invest $1 billion to ease a housing crisis it helped create in the San Francisco Bay Area. 

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