Let’s talk about the good stuff first! As has been noted in several previous blog posts, Tech is strong and growing in a variety of endeavors in Dane County, especially medical IT and biomedical startups. Some interesting highlights:
Epic Systems is the officially the largest player nationally in electronic health records, contributes over 8,000 workers locally, and accounts for over 25% of all new job creation in Dane County.
In Dane County, as it is in almost every state and large metro area, smaller (often) tech firms account for a disproportionate amount of real growth. And, no surprise (!), Dane County, being the preferred destination for tech startups in Wisconsin, owns the fastest growing job market of all Wisconsin counties, clocking in at about 20,000 new jobs in the last decade. It’s worth mentioning that a high proportion of these jobs are high paying, not low level retail jobs. (See “building boom” below”)
There are those that believe that Dane County really isn’t special, that its robust job scene is a reflection only of the sizable State Government and University presence. But that’s mostly not true. Those large numbers are true, but the government and UW sectors have remained flat for years. Real job growth is coming from new companies.
Local entrepreneurs are leading the effort to seize the day and turbocharge the growth engine that is tech, biotech, and health care. What is needed is more venture capital, together with a more robust startup incubator culture. I’ll discuss this further in my next post.
Building Boom: Has anyone noticed the explosion of condo building downtown? Well compensated Epic employees are behind this boom, and it ripples to the far outreaches of the city. Property prices are coming back. A rising sea lifts all ships.