2024 News Releases

2024 Silicon Valley Index: Record-high $14.3 trillion market cap as income gaps, layoffs, & adjustments signal recalibration

cover imageMost industries have returned to pre-pandemic levels

Innovation engine is still running hot

Vacancy rates high & rising

Nation’s largest income gaps, highest housing prices

"We may not be booming, but we’re still growing," says Russell Hancock, CEO of Joint Venture.

February 28, 2024 – Joint Venture Silicon Valley's Institute for Regional Studies today released the 2024 Silicon Valley Index, revealing that the region achieved an unprecedented market cap of $14.3 trillion. This milestone comes as the regional economy demonstrates resilience despite growing income and wealth divides, coupled with persistent housing challenges for residents.

The data from the regional think tank, established in 1993, confirms the region's economic health and continued growth. Although employment growth showed a slight slowdown, Silicon Valley's workforce rebounded to pre-pandemic levels, gaining thousands of jobs over the past year. At the end of 2023, the unemployment rate for the Silicon Valley metro area stood at 4%, compared to the state's 5.1%.

“We may not be booming, but we’re still growing,” said Russell Hancock, CEO of Joint Venture, and President of the Institute. “We’re a region built on creative destruction and re-invention.”

Even amidst losses in the tech sector, Silicon Valley achieved record-breaking financial gains. The market cap soared to $14.3 trillion, while venture capital funding reached an astounding $30 billion. An impressive 220% increase in investments in generative AI companies underscored the region's commitment to technological innovation.

Despite tech companies shedding 7% of their workforce, the sector still constitutes 28% of total employment. Arts, entertainment, and recreation jobs surged, and community infrastructure and services rebounded to pre-pandemic levels, showcasing the region's economic adaptability.

Income disparities persist, with the average Silicon Valley worker earning $189,000 annually, while the median household income marginally outpaces inflation at $149,600. Wealth distribution remains imbalanced, with the top 10% holding 70% of collective wealth.

Housing remains a formidable challenge, with Silicon Valley maintaining the nation's highest prices. The median home sale price reached $1.76 million, further exacerbating the housing shortage as permits decreased by 52%. Of the nine California counties with median home prices exceeding $1 million, five are in the Bay Area.

“Racial and ethnic disparities persist, from remote work rates to commute times," says Rachel Massaro, Joint Venture Vice President, and Director of Research for the Institute. "The gender wage gap remains alarmingly high, and we're seeing stagnant representation among women as entrepreneurs and in local government," said Massaro.

Key findings from the Index

PEOPLE

  • After four consecutive years of decline, Silicon Valley’s population ticked upward in 2023. The number of people departing the region fell significantly (52%) over the previous year, and the number of foreign immigrants grew by 37%.
  • Silicon Valley’s population is aging. The share of residents 65 years or older has grown by 32% since 2012, while the number of children is in decline (down 13 % over the same period).
  • The share of residents who are foreign-born reached a historic peak (40%) in 2022. More than half of the Valley’s households speak a language other than English at home. Asian residents make up the largest share (39%) of our population.

EMPLOYMENT

  • Silicon Valley has a 1.7-million-person workforce, a level of employment 1% higher than 2019 (before the pandemic set in). The unemployment rate is 3.7%, an uptick over the previous low of 2.2% in 2022.
  • Silicon Valley’s 20 largest tech companies shed 7% of their Bay Area workforce in 2023 (approximately 18,800 workers). However, employment in tech at the end of 2023 was more than 37,000 employees above pre-pandemic figures. Jobs in the tech sector now comprise 28% of the workforce.

THE INNOVATION ECOSYSTEM

  • Despite employment losses in the tech sector, Silicon Valley and San Francisco’s aggregate market cap hit an all-time high of $14.3 trillion in February 2024.
  • Venture capital funding was low relative to spikes in recent years, but the raw amounts ($30 billion in Silicon Valley and San Francisco combined) are still staggering.
  • A record-high share of venture funding (nearly two-thirds) went into “megadeals” of more than $100 million each. Silicon Valley is home to 31% of the nation’s “unicorns” (private companies valued at $1-plus billion); San Francisco has another 26%. Together, the region’s 276 unicorns are worth nearly $1 trillion.
  • Investments in generative Artificial Intelligence companies saw a remarkable 220% increase over the previous year.

COMMERCIAL SPACE

  • Office vacancy rates across the region rose to nearly 19% by the end of 2023, reflecting a transitioning economy and new patterns of remote work. The volume of commercial leases declined 22% over the previous year, leaving 31 million square feet unoccupied.
  • Silicon Valley asking rents are significantly higher (61%) at locations near public transit.

INCOME AND WEALTH

  • The average Silicon Valley worker earns $189,000 per year; however, the region’s median household income ($149,600) is barely outpacing inflation.
  • The top 10 % of households hold 70% of the collective wealth. If Silicon Valley’s wealth (including real estate) was evenly distributed, it would amount to $2 million per household.
  • Silicon Valley’s income divide has grown twice as quickly as that of the state and nation since 2010 (the end of the Great Recession). The gap between residents of varying educational attainment levels is also wider here than elsewhere.
  • Silicon Valley has a significant gender wage gap: men with a college degree earn 42% more than women with similar degrees. The gap is even higher for the part-time workforce.
  • The region’s poverty rates vary significantly by race and ethnicity. The poverty rate for Black or African American residents (17%) is more than triple that of White (not Hispanic or Latino) residents.

HOUSING

  • The region experienced a slight (4%) decrease in inflation-adjusted median home prices, mostly attributable to high interest rates. Silicon Valley’s median home sale price at the end of 2023 was $1.76 million, a price that is out of reach for 74% of first-time homebuyers.
  • Silicon Valley’s renters are more likely to be “burdened” by housing costs than owners, with 41% of renters spending more than 30% of their gross income on rent (compared to 33 % of homeowners).
  • 24% of homelessness in Santa Clara County was prompted by job loss in 2023, while 8% was the result of domestic violence; 9% was attributed to the breakup of a relationship.

TRANSPORTATION

  • Weekday ridership on Caltrain is less than a third of what it was prior to the pandemic.
  • The number of freeway miles driven in Silicon Valley is 2% below 2019 levels; traffic delays have decreased by 39%.
  • Silicon Valley has 52,000 “megacommuters” traveling more than three hours daily to and from work. The megacommuters are disproportionately Hispanic or Latino, and Black or African American. Fifteen hundred of these megacommuters live within Silicon Valley but rely on time-consuming bus commutes.

EQUITY AND ACCESS

  • Asian students graduated high school at a rate (96%) that is 18 percentage points higher than Hispanic or Latino students (78%).
  • 29% of households with an annual income below $75,000 did not have broadband internet access. Disparities also exist across racial and ethnic groups with more than 6% of Hispanic or Latino households and 7% of Black or African American households without access.
  • 18% of White and 27% of Asian potential buyers can afford to purchase a median-priced home; this compares to only 7% of Black or African American and 9% of Hispanic or Latino purchasers.
  • White (not Hispanic or Latino) workers make up 31% of the workforce but account for 59% of leadership roles (and 49% of technical roles) at Silicon Valley’s largest tech companies. Hispanic or Latino workers represent a disproportionately small share (17%).

Rachel Massaro, Joint Venture Vice President and Director of Research for the Silicon Valley Institute for Regional Studies, authored the Index with Heidi Young, Senior Researcher at Joint Venture and the Institute. The study reports the latest data and trends in economic development, workforce, housing, education, public health, land use, environment, governance, arts, and other sectors throughout Santa Clara and San Mateo counties and portions of Alameda and Santa Cruz counties and San Francisco.

The complete 2024 Silicon Valley Index is accessible online at www.siliconvalleyindicators.org and may be downloaded from the Joint Venture website.

Download the 2024 Index

The Index is published in conjunction with the annual “State of the Valley” conference, a town hall style gathering of regional leaders, elected officials and citizens in a discussion of Silicon Valley’s economic opportunities, challenges and future. The 2024 State of the Valley conference takes place Friday, March 1. Register here for virtual tickets.

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About Joint Venture Silicon Valley

Established in 1993, Joint Venture Silicon Valley is a platform for analysis created and supported by the major sectors (business, government, labor, academia). The analysis emanates from the organization’s research arm, the Silicon Valley Institute for Regional Studies. The Institute catalyzes action by spotlighting issues, convening the region’s leaders, and facilitating a process for collaborative action. For more information, visit www.jointventure.org.

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