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Heated SF Job Gains Begin Cooling

Winter 2016

Employment gains in the San Francisco Metropolitan District (MD) are slowing from the heated growth reported in the last edition of The Regional Outlook San Francisco. At 2.4%, local gains matched the year-over-year growth rate in California as a whole from October 2015 to October 2016, according to estimates from the state’s Employment Development Department (EDD). While this is a substantial drop from the region’s recent rapid gains, Beacon Economics anticipates that revisions released by the EDD early next year, when more detailed end of year tax records become available, will reflect stronger gains.

Job growth was fueled by sustained inbound migration, with San Francisco’s labor force increasing by 27,200 between October 2015 and October 2016. Increasingly, new migrants are highly educated—71% of 2015 inbound migrants have attained a bachelors degree or higher, according to U.S. Census American Community Survey data. Despite the influx of new jobseekers, the local unemployment rate fell by 0.2-percentage points year-over-year, to 3.2%, in October 2016.

In absolute terms, the Professional, Scientific, and Technology sector accounted for the largest number of job gains in the San Francisco MD. This is corroborated by strong taxable sales growth (+7.6%) in the Business and Industry spending category, which reflects increasing capital expenditures by employers on equipment and supplies. Between October 2015 and October 2016, this sector...


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