Here are some interesting statistics, courtesy of the Bay Area Council Economic Institute.
- The Bay Area is the world's fourth-most-important center for global business - after New York, London and Tokyo - as measured by the number of and revenues of Forbes Global 1000 companies.
- At $400 billion, the region's economy - if it were a nation - would be the world's 18th largest.
- Economic productivity is $122,000 per worker, 26% higher than the national average.
- 42 percent of the Bay Area's residents have college degrees.
- The region attracts 35 percent of all venture capital invested in the US (approx $10 billion).
- Very high venture capiltal invested per capita at $1,370, ahead of Singapore ($180), Israel ($117), New York ($107), Sweden ($101) and UK ($35).
- Bay Area universities attract 6% of national academic research funding (approx $2.5 billion).
- Foreign investment in the region grew 67 percent from 2002 to 2006.
The report calls for action to address some of the downside: a high cost of doing business, expensive housing, congested traffic (they should try Sydney), and a stressed education system. The report provides a lot more detail in comparison to other major world regional centres.
Interestingly, the high cost of doing business seems related mainly to salary and "benefits", i.e. payroll tax, health insurance, pension, and miscellaneous employee incentives. So partly that high productivity is being shared around, but also health costs (the US is almost double that of other developed nations as a % of GDP) must play a part.
Bottom Line: A great snapshot of the Bay Area, but read the report rather than the press summaries to get the real details.