Rising inequality has focused attention on the benefits of new technologies. Do these accrue primarily to inventors, early investors, and highly skilled users, or to society more widely as their adoption generates employment growth?
We identify novel technologies using textual analysis of earnings conference calls, newspapers, announcements, and patents. Our approach enables us to document the rollout of 20 new technologies across firms and labor markets in the U.S. Four stylized facts emerge from our data. First, as technologies develop, the number of new positions related to them grows, but the average education requirements and wage levels of the positions drop. Second, as technologies develop, their employment impact diffuses across the country: initially, technologies are concentrated in local hubs, but over time, their adoption diffuses geographically. Third, despite this diffusion, the initial hubs retain a disproportionate share of employment in the technology, particularly at the high-skill end of the spectrum. Finally, technology hubs are more likely to arise in areas with universities and high skilled labor pools.