Apr 24, 2024 - News

Salt Lake emerges as AI job hotspot

New AI jobs posted per 100k people, Q1 2024
Data: UMD-LinkUp AIMaps; Note: "AI job" defined as a job requiring technical skills to build and/or use AI models; A bigger circle indicates more new jobs per capita; Map: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

The Salt Lake City metro area saw an influx of AI-related job postings in the first quarter of 2024, outpacing the national average as demand for the technology grows, according to a new analysis.

Why it matters: Cities outside Silicon Valley have a chance to get in on the action — and reap potentially lucrative economic rewards.

How it works: The estimates came by way of UMD-LinkUp, a collaboration between the University of Maryland, job listings platform LinkUp and consultancy/executive firm Outrigger Group.

  • Researchers used AI language models to sift through LinkUp job listings for AI jobs, defined as those that require technical skills to either create or use AI models.
  • That use of AI significantly enhances their accuracy compared to traditional keyword filtering, the researchers say.

Zoom in: Utah, home to the state's tech hub Silicon Slopes, ranked 26th in the nation for the number of AI jobs posted in Q1. And within Utah, Salt Lake and Provo metros came out on top.

  • There were nearly 18 AI job postings per 100,000 residents in the Salt Lake City metro area and five AI job postings per 100,000 residents in the Provo metro area.
  • For comparison, there were almost 12 AI-related jobs posted for every 100,000 residents nationally in Q1.

What they're saying: "Most of our technology companies are in the software and app development space, and that's one of the first areas where you're seeing AI tools really being used a lot," Derek Miller, president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber and Downtown Alliance tells Axios.

The big picture: Salt Lake City's 2023 job market was ranked the hottest in the nation by the Wall Street Journal, mostly fueled by its tech and finance industries.

Threat level: Salt Lake is among the top ten metros where AI could upend most jobs, according to a 2023 analysis by the Chamber of Commerce, a product research company.

  • About 14% of Salt Lake jobs are considered "at-risk" of job loss due to AI.
  • The ten most susceptible are record-keeping and administrative occupations like cashiers, clerks, accountants and bookkeepers, per the Chamber.

Yes, but: Emerging technologies like AI could create new job opportunities and "things that we can't even currently imagine," Miller noted.

Zoom out: San Jose (142.4 new AI jobs listed per 100,000 residents), Seattle (74.4) and San Francisco (49.3) led the way in the first quarter of 2024 among cities with at least 500,000 residents and 25 newly posted jobs.

The bottom line: While much of America's AI workforce is concentrated in Silicon Valley, other areas are emerging as strong second-tier contenders.

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