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San Francisco: Jobs in All Things Digital

Job growth (2008-2018): 10.2%
Population: 744,041
College educated: 45%
High/low average temperatures: 71/46
Median household income: $73,798
Median home price: $824,300
Museums: 62
Parks: 229
Islands within city limits: 12
Victorian houses: 14,000
Pro sports teams: 2 (if you include Oakland: 5)

San Francisco’s relatively high unemployment numbers reflect not only the losses in construction and manufacturing jobs, but also a decimated tourism industry, which is the second largest employer in the city. Even the high-tech powerhouse that is Silicon Valley has been idling. “It’s true we’re not seeing growth in hardware, and we’re not seeing the growth in software we did,” says Ted Egan, the city’s chief economist. But for long-term job growth, “the name of the game in the San Francisco area is still technology, only now with biotech, digital media, and internet businesses, we have a much broader base of companies,” he says. For example, in the past five years, biotech has gone from essentially zero to 6 percent of the area’s economy, employing 3,000 people. “We’ve seen that continue to go up,” Egan says, “and we’re seeing a lot of venture capital for green tech.” In fact, Silicon Valley is still head and shoulders above the rest of the country in venture capital investments [pdf], drawing in 38 percent of all those dollars in 4Q 2009.

Silicon Valley -- and Google in particular -- has its eye on the business of digitizing healthcare records, a sector that has received $19 billion in stimulus funds.

Which brings us to digitized medical records. Silicon Valley is poised to grab a reasonable share of the tens of thousands of jobs the government forecasts will be needed to achieve President Obama’s goal of digitizing the medical records at all government agencies within five years. While the stimulus package allocated $19 billion to encourage doctors and hospitals to adapt, costs to be borne by the medical establishment remain a sticking point. If cloud computing (Google already has its eye on this business) and an easy-to-use tablet (Apple is just down the road) slash the implementation costs for doctors and hospitals, healthcare professionals may finally buy into this idea. To the tune of billions of dollars. And there’s no better place than Silicon Valley to take healthcare high tech, Egan says.£