Main image of article Will California Win the Battle for A.I. Jobs?

California has long enjoyed a reputation as the country’s preeminent tech hub, despite strong competition from the likes of Washington, New York, and Texas. Can it maintain that position as the tech industry shifts its attention to artificial intelligence (A.I.) and machine learning?

According to a new report by the Brookings Institution (as excerpted in Axios), generative A.I. postings are clustered in a few key metro areas, with California in the lead, followed distantly by New York, Texas, and Massachusetts. “None of the top 50 AI startups are in a Rust Belt state, the Midwest or the South,” added Axios’s analysis of the data. “San Francisco alone is home to 20 of the best-funded A.I. companies—more than the rest of America combined.”

The Brookings Report calls for a more “broadly distributed A.I. sector” to prevent the activity (and benefits) of A.I. clustering in a few key areas. That being said, it’s still very early days when it comes to generative A.I., and nobody can predict how the evolution of the sector will impact the whole country—for example, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman hinted in a recent interview with The Atlantic that A.I. could have a sizable impact on manufacturing, which is central to many states’ economies.

The data from the Brookings Institution aligns with other sources, including CompTIA’s latest Tech Jobs Report, which found A.I. jobs primarily concentrated in California, Massachusetts, Texas, Virginia, and New York. (CompTIA pulls its data from Lightcast, which collects and analyzes many millions of job postings from across the nation. In other words, it’s pretty comprehensive.)

While it’s anybody’s guess how A.I. will impact the tech-job market nationwide, there’s a chance it may help drive additional tech hiring in coming years. Upwork recently surveyed 1,400 U.S. business leaders, including senior managers and C-suite executives, and found that nearly half (49 percent) plan to hire more full-time staff and freelancers as a result of generative A.I. initiatives. Hopefully that hiring is spread evenly across the country.