These aren't the best of times in Greater Silicon Valley - the San Francisco and San Jose metropolitan areas and some surrounding counties. Large employers in what locals call the Bay Area have been laying off workers left and right. The region's second- and third-largest banks, First Republic Bank and Silicon Valley Bank, have failed. San Francisco's downtown, booming before covid-19, is now one of the nation's most troubled. Home prices are falling. The population of the region's six core counties has declined by an estimated 234,697 people, or 3.5%, since April 2020.
Silicon Valley has been through deep cyclical downturns before, and critics have been predicting its downfall for decades, to no avail. But the remote-work revolution unleashed by the pandemic has emboldened the detractors and made their claims seem more plausible. The area's economic edge is its unparalleled ecosystem of entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and others who specialize in helping innovative companies get started and grow. Could new ways of working and collaborating finally end that regional advantage?