This Data Suggests Tech Companies Aren’t Actually Flocking to Austin

Elon Musk's Texas move isn't part of a bigger trend, but some other cities are seeing a surprising tech worker migration

Elon Musk moving to Texas
Elon Musk, seen here at Austin's SXSW conference in 2013.
Sean Mathis/Getty Images for SXSW

Elon Musk and seemingly half of Silicon Valley are moving to Austin, if you read the headlines.

But at the newsletter Big Technology, Alex Kantrowitz offers a different interpretation. Utilizing LinkedIn data, he suggests that the tech migration is headed toward smaller cities like Madison, Richmond and Sacramento, while the Texas capital is actually attracting tech workers at a slower rate than last year.

The data compares a few hundred thousand tech workers who moved between April and October of 2020 with the same time period in 2019. It turns out the Midwest is losing those employees at a slower rate this year (or even gaining a few of them). And Seattle is gaining roughly 2.52 tech workers for every one it loses.

Meanwhile, Austin is gaining workers, but at a rate that’s over 10% off of last year. And Miami, another supposed new tech hotspot, only saw a 3% gain.

Meanwhile, New York and San Francisco are the only two cities that were previously seeing gains that are now seeing their tech talent migrate. That said, don’t expect all of these trends to last beyond the pandemic.

“We believe a lot of these moves are likely short-term,” LinkedIn chief economist Karin Kimbrough told Big Technology. “We expect to see tech talent returning to legacy tech hubs like the Bay Area when offices reopen.”

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