Good news for S.F. economy thanks to tourism, tech 

click to enlarge Tech, such as, is one of the high points in the San Francisco economy. - MIKE KOOZMIN/THE S.F. EXAMINER
  • Mike Koozmin/The S.F. Examiner
  • Tech, such as, is one of the high points in the San Francisco economy.

A pair of economic reports this week point to San Francisco’s economy perking up, with both the tourism and tech industries driving the good news.

A UCLA Anderson Forecast conference on Wednesday in Los Angeles revealed The City has experienced a whopping 5 percent growth in jobs over the past three months, mostly due to new tech company activity.

Jerry Nickelsburg, a senior economist who worked on the forecast, said job growth in San Francisco and Silicon Valley doubles that of the rest of the country, which still appears to be showing significant overall sluggishness.

“It’s being driven by business investment in equipment and software, based on a globalized economy,” Nickelsburg said.

Meanwhile, Los Angeles is lagging behind with the rest of the country because of a higher concentration of lower-paying jobs, which remain in the doldrums nationwide, he said.

“L.A. looks a lot like the East Bay,” Nickelsburg said. “It has a combination of tech intensive industries and non-tech intensive industries — warehousing, retail, logistics.”

Also this week, San Francisco’s tourism industry announced an increase in visitors in 2011, and a big boost in the amount of money they spent on average.

More than 16 million people visited San Francisco last year, nearly 3 percent more than in 2010, and they spent a combined average of $23.2 million per day, nearly 10 percent more than in 2010. The figures, compiled by the SF Travel Association, meant $526 million in taxes for San Francisco compared to $480 million in 2010.

Joe D’Alessandro, SF Travel’s president and CEO, said the momentum is likely to continue in the coming years due to big events like the 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge, the 2012 U.S. Open and the America’s Cup yacht race, which is coming to The City this summer and again for final races in September 2013.

“Our economic recovery continues but we have a ways to go,” D’Alessandro said. “We can look forward to the events of this year that will drive significant leisure travel as well as the strong convention bookings to keep the momentum going.”

S.F. economy improving

5% Job growth in past three months
16M Tourists in 2011 – 3 percent rise over 2010
$8.46B Generated from tourism in 2011 – 10 percent rise over 2010

Sources: UCLA Anderson Forecast, SF Travel Association

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