A Message About the 2017 Index
Silicon Valley continues its upward spiral.
It’s a story that hasn’t changed since 2010, when we came roaring out of the Great Recession and created a new wave of innovation around the internet, mobile devices, software, and big data. Staggering amounts of venture capital powered this innovation, which in turn fueled seven straight years of economic expansion.
Yes, the pace slowed in 2016, but ever so slightly. There were fewer deals and we lost a percentage point in the sheer rate of job growth (even while outpacing the state and nation). The market made necessary corrections to some overvaluations and we saw fewer IPOs, and yet there is no talk of a bubble bursting. If anything, the talk is about the toll our growth is taking on the region as we move into robotics and artificial intelligence.
It’s become a familiar refrain: growth has its perils. It strains our infrastructure, decreases our quality of living and puts housing out of reach for too many. Growth can also be troubling when it isn’t widely shared. Unfortunately, our report shows that income disparities are more pronounced than ever, changing the character of our region and raising profound questions about community and cohesiveness.
Fortunately, there is a growing recognition that these challenges ultimately erode our innovation ecosystem and threaten the very foundation of our prosperity. Last year Silicon Valley residents took action at the ballot box, voting in bonds for affordable housing and taxes for transportation improvements. The pages of this report show how badly needed those measures are, and that they still won’t be enough.
Our region’s storied innovation has served us so extremely well in the commercial realm. Now, with the stakes so high, we need to apply that same spirit of innovation to our social and civic challenges. As we do, it will be crucially important to have the facts at hand. We’re pleased to provide them.
President & Chief Executive Officer
Joint Venture Silicon Valley
Silicon Valley Institute for Regional Studies