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The San Francisco Metropolitan Division (MD) continued its leading role in California’s employment recovery in the third quarter of 2013. In August, the region added over 21,000 jobs on a year-over-year basis. That 2.1% increase represented the fourth fastest growth rate in California behind San Jose, the Central Coast, and Orange County. The San Francisco MD is one of a handful of regions in the state to have exceeded their pre-recession peak employment levels. Specifically, the San Francisco MD has added back all of the 74,000 jobs it lost between April 2008 and March 2010 – and as of August 2013, has added an additional 21,900 jobs on top of that. The region’s unemployment rate, which reached as high as 9.4% in April 2010, fell to just 5.3% in August 2013—close to its long-run average of 5.1%.
Encouragingly, job growth remains broad-based across most sectors of the local economy. With the exception of Farm employment and the Manufacturing sector, the San Francisco MD added jobs in every industry. The driving forces behind the region’s employment recovery include the residential real estate market, new construction activity, tourism, and business investment.
The Leisure and Hospitality sector has added the largest number of jobs over the past year (+5,100), as hotel occupancy, room rates, and airport traffic are all increasing in the San Francisco MD. Additionally, the region’s Administrative Support sector and Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services sector have both benefitted from rising business investment in equipment and software throughout the U.S., something that continues to be a driver of economic growth at the national level. Finally, Construction employment has been surging—with the highest employment growth rate in the San Francisco MD—as both residential and nonresidential permits have risen by more than 50% through the first 9 months of 2013 compared to...