Reuters

The average weekly wage in San Mateo County increased 107.3 percent, thanks to a little IPO that happened in May 2012.

The average weekly wage in San Mateo County California, the home of Silicon Valley behemoths like Facebook, increased 107.3 percent in the last quarter of 2012, making it the richest place in America — even ahead of Manhattan — all because of a little IPO that happened in May 2012. Here's how the thinking goes: Facebook went public in May 2012. In November — 181 days after the offering — those with vested stock options could cash in. Sure, CEO Mark Zuckerberg promised not do that. But if Peter Thiel, one of the earliest and biggest investors in the social network took out something like $1 billion, you can bet some less famous names did as well. In that quarter alone, the roughly 6,200 tech workers in the area collected total wages of $6.8 billion, notes the Wall Street Journal's Scott Thurm. "That kind of a jump can only be explained by what’s happening with stock" Doug Henton, chief executive of Collaborative Economics told Thurm. Some of that likely also came from other tech IPOs that year, but Facebook's was by far the largest.  

So now it can boast higher earnings than even Manhattan, home of Wall Street, which is in second place on the Bureau of Labor and Statistics rankings, at weekly wages of $2,107 for the quarter — over $1,000 less than the Facebook billionaires. 

Another huge jump in weekly wage earning — though not nearly as impressive at 107.3 percent — happened in Douglas county in Colorado, a suburb outside of Denver. Though no big tech company IPOs happened at the end of last quarter, the area does have some big name companies in growth industries like healthcare and telecommunications.

Now that San Mateo Co. has so many super-duper rich people, what will happen to the local economy? "It will be interesting to see if that wealth bump is reflected in giving back to the community," wondered Henton. That's a nice thought, but not one that's likely to result in anything. The gap between the rich and the poor in the South Bay continues to grow, with food stamp participation at a 10 year high and poverty for blacks and hispanics reaching new lows. If anything, the influx of money will only make things worse, with the cost of living soaring to reflect the new riches, pushing middle class people up. But hey, maybe the newly civic minded CEOs, with Zuckerberg leading the pack, will decide to do something about it now?

This post originally appeared on The Atlantic Wire.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. photo: Dominque Walker, founder of Moms 4 Housing, n the kitchen of the vacant house in West Oakland that the group occupied to draw attention to fair housing issues.
    Equity

    A Group of Mothers, a Vacant Home, and a Win for Fair Housing

    The activist group Moms 4 Housing occupied a vacant home in Oakland to draw attention to the city’s affordability crisis. They ended up launching a movement.

  2. Life

    The Cities Americans Want to Flee, and Where They Want to Go

    An Apartment List report reveals the cities apartment-hunters are targeting for their next move—and shows that tales of a California exodus may be overstated.

  3. photo: A Lyft scooter on the streets of Oakland in July.
    Transportation

    4 Predictions for the Electric Scooter Industry

    Dockless e-scooters swept cities worldwide in 2018 and 2019. In 2020, expect the battery-powered micromobility revolution to take a new direction.

  4. photo: a pair of homes in Pittsburgh
    Equity

    The House Flippers of Pittsburgh Try a New Tactic

    As the city’s real estate market heats up, neighborhood groups say that cash investors use building code violations to encourage homeowners to sell.  

  5. Life

    Can Toyota Turn Its Utopian Ideal Into a 'Real City'?

    The automaker-turned-mobility-company announced last week it wants to build a living, breathing urban laboratory from the ground up in Japan.

×