Despite record unemployment rates, some sectors of Silicon Valley’s high-tech economy continue to shine, according to a report released Wednesday.

“While the employment picture may sound a bit negative, the wage picture was much more sunny,” said Amar Mann, regional economist with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, who co-authored the report titled “After the Dot-Com Bubble: Silicon Valley High-Tech Employment and wages in 2001 and 2008.”

Mann said the six-county Silicon Valley region lost more than 85,000 high-tech jobs between 2001 and 2008, a decline of about 17 percent. The region comprises Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, San Mateo, San Francisco, Alameda, and Contra Costa counties.

However, the average Silicon Valley tech worker’s salary grew by 36 percent during the same period, from about $97,000 a year in 2001 to $132,000 a year in 2008, Mann said.
By contrast, salaries nationwide grew by just 25 percent between 2001 and 2008, he said.
Among other findings in the report:

Jobs grew in the fields of aerospace, pharmaceuticals, and scientific research between 2001 and 2008. Mann calls these sectors the “emerging leaders” of Silicon Valley’s tech economy.
Jobs declined in fields such as data processing, semiconductor manufacturing and computer system design.
Silicon Valley continues to lead the nation in registered patents. The region is home to 11 of the top 20 U.S. cities with the most registered patents.

Richard Holden, regional commissioner with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, said his agency hopes to make the Silicon Valley report an annual event.

“We don’t do forecasts, but we look at the trends,” Holden said.

The report is available online at

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