Baltimore is a New Tech Hot Spot, Says Forbes

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Sure, the bootleg t-shirt vendors of Baltimore are going to be doing pretty good business selling all sorts of Ravens merch over the next couple of weeks. But say you want a job that has a bit more staying power — well, then, Baltimorean, I’m happy to report that you’re in luck.

According to Forbes, Baltimore is one of America’s “New Tech Hot Spots.” As  Joel Kotkin writes, “technology is reshaping the economic geography of the United States.” Baltimore’s crumbling infrastructure and flailing industries have long been seen as symbols of inevitable economic decline (in a Season-Two-of-The-Wire kind of way). But, as Kotkin notes, STEM employment (that is, science technology engineering and mathematics related jobs) aren’t concentrated in wealthy urban centers like New York, Chicago, and L.A. — all of which lost tech jobs over the past ten years. And even the vaunted San Francisco region saw STEM employment stay relatively flat over that period of time.

Instead, STEM jobs grow where there’s federal funding, educational institutions, and low costs. Places, in other words, like Baltimore. Over the past decade, Baltimore’s STEM employment grew a whopping 17.9 percent, with nearly 4 percent of that growth in the past two years. “Ultimately, one of the main dynamics of the information age — that even sophisticated tasks  can be done from anywhere — works against the dominion of single hegemonic industry centers like Wall Street, Hollywood and Silicon Valley,” Kotkin writes. “The tech sector is particularly vulnerable to declustering, due in large part thanks to the freedom from geography created by technologies of its own making.” And while that may be bad news for San Francisco, it’s great news for Baltimore.

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