The top of an apartment building in Boston, Massachusetts.
Jon Bilous The top of an apartment building in Boston, Massachusetts.

Before San Francisco took over as America’s technology heartland, Boston could make a stab at that claim with the Route 128 Tech Belt, populated by MIT and Harvard graduates and companies such as Wang and Digital Equipment Corporation. But even though the nation’s tech consciousness shifted west, the technology sector still plays a vital role in Eastern Massachusetts, reports Sarah Mikhitarian of Zillow Research.

Over the past 25 years, Boston’s population has increased by about one million people and its unemployment rate today is just 4%, down from 4.6% a year ago and well below the national rate of 5.1%.

Today, the vast majority of Boston-area residents work in the tech, retail and food-service industries. The concentration of retail and food-service employees in the Boston metro is about on par with the rest of the nation. But the local tech industry is pretty distinct, with 3.3 times as many tech employees clustered in the Boston metro as in the U.S. as a whole. And tech workers aren’t alone in being over-represented in Boston – the share of total employment in a few sectors is much larger in the Boston area relative to the U.S. share.

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