A message about the 2011 index
Two years after the start of the Great Recession, Silicon Valley is beginning to show some signs of economic recovery. We are seeing small gains in private sector employment as well as modest improvements in income. And yet we remain a region at risk.
This year's Index also shows that gains in private sector employment are being offset by job losses in the public sector, and we can only expect that trend to continue.
The Special Analysis carefully examines the crisis facing local government and the problems are serious: city and county revenues, long under stress, have plummeted during the recession, and public services are being severely strained. The analysis documents underlying structural issues at the state and local level that have created these problems—problems that were masked during boom years but have now reached a crisis point.
As a region, we have a choice. We can continue on our present course, in which modest improvements in the economy will not be enough to shore up the public sector, resulting in the loss of public services we currently take for granted. Or we can take steps to address the public sector financial crisis and find ways to keep investing in the education systems, infrastructure, health and safety, and community development that are essential to a healthy economy and our quality of life.
If we fail, we risk a dangerous downward spiral in which a declining public sector leads to sharper declines in employment, which in turn creates an additional drag on our economic recovery.
Most of the things we care most deeply about – the education of our children, the health and safety of our families and the creation of great places to live – depend on effective government. It is clear that our institutions of local government are at a critical juncture. It is also clear that we must work together to make difficult choices and at the same time explore new efficiencies and operating models responsive to the realities of the 21st century.
Joint Venture and Silicon Valley Community Foundation are dedicated to improving the future of our region. This report provides the facts that can help us grapple with our choices and act on our priorities. We're pleased to provide this crucial information and anxious to move forward.
Russell Hancock, Ph.D.
President & Chief Executive Officer
Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network
Other regions closely follow the Silicon Valley Index and many have emulated it to create their own set of indicators and data reporting.
One such example is described in this article that appeared in Florida Trend, a business magazine, in 2005.
Silicon Valley: A synonym for economic success
One of the traits of successful people, businesses and communities is the ability to engage in an open, honest examination of where they are, where they want to go and what they're doing to get there. In 1992, business leaders in Silicon Valley, the region that's become a synonym for economic success, started an organization called Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network in response to what they saw as unnecessary government bureaucracy and a generally unhealthy business climate. Since 1995, the network has published an annual "index" that measures how the region is doing on what it believes are the most important indicators of its civic health. (Download a copy at jointventure.org.) There are several notable things about the effort that should interest economic developers in Florida: