May 6, 2021 - Technology

Two tales of jobs in tech hubs

Data: Indeed; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Jobs are coming back more slowly in America's top tech centers than in other cities — but it's not the tech jobs that are lagging, according to a new analysis from the jobs site Indeed.

What's happening: Pandemic-era remote work is still keeping white-collar workers in tech hubs at home, and that's slowing down the recovery of local shops and restaurants in those communities.

The big picture: Scores of jobs in big cities' central business districts — from the bodegas serving morning coffee to the fast casual lunch spots to the nearby boutiques — depend on foot traffic from office workers. Remote work, and its staying power, could make many of those jobs disappear for good.

Details: Indeed looked at Austin, Baltimore, Boston, Raleigh, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, and Washington, DC — U.S. tech hubs, defined by Indeed as cities with populations over 1 million that have the highest percent of technology job postings.

  • In these cities, retail and food service jobs have seen steeper drops than in other metro areas.
  • Retail job postings fell 16% in these cities between February 2019 and February 2021, compared with 0% in all other U.S. cities.
  • Food service jobs postings fell 36% in the tech centers in that same time period. In other metros, the drop was 17%.

What to watch: "It's too soon to say whether this is a permanent slowdown," says Jed Kolko, the report's author and Indeed's chief economist.

  • The lost retail and restaurant jobs could come back in new places, he says. "We might see a shift from traditional business districts to residential neighborhoods, if the downtown lunch becomes midday takeout."
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