Apr 22, 2024 - News

Seattle is the nation's second-biggest new 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

Seattle, San Francisco and San Jose are the country's top three new AI job hotspots, a recent analysis finds.

Why it matters: The numbers underscore what some of Seattle's business and tech leaders have been promising: The city will emerge as one of the key hubs for artificial intelligence innovation, as Starbucks CEO Laxman Narasimhan touted last year.

By the numbers: With 74.4 new AI job listings per 100,000 residents, Seattle placed second among cities with at least 500,000 residents and 25 newly posted jobs in the first quarter of 2024.

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

  • The researchers are using 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.
  • Their use of AI significantly enhances their accuracy compared to traditional keyword filtering, the researchers say.

The big picture: In a year marked by layoffs in the technology, manufacturing and financial sectors, the Seattle area remains among the nation's top 10 overall job markets, according to an assessment by the Wall Street Journal and Moody's Analytics.

  • The WSJ ranking studied trends in employment and wages in about 380 metro areas.
  • Drawn by job opportunities, wage growth and affordability, workers are flocking to the cities at the top of the WSJ ranking, per the data.

Friction point: Among American professionals surveyed for a 2024 Washington State University report, 58% believe AI will have a positive impact on employee efficiency and 46% believe it can boost an organization's competitiveness.

  • But nearly half also worry that they could be "left behind" in their careers if they fail to adapt and learn, Debbie Compeau, interim dean of WSU's Carson College of Business, told Axios last week.
  • "I am not at all surprised Seattle is an AI hotspot," Compeau said. "People see tremendous opportunity but they also want to figure out how to make (AI) a part of their jobs so they can keep up with the demands," she said.
  • Additionally, there's a clear need to prepare students for using AI in the workplace, she said.

The bottom line: While much of America's tech workforce is still concentrated in Silicon Valley, the U.S. is able to support a growing number of first-tier contenders, including Seattle, as well as several smaller and less expensive cities in the Sunbelt and Mountain West.

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