San Francisco Center for Economic Development
July 2011
 
Whoops! Due to a computer glitch, an incorrect version of Quickfacts was distributed last Friday. Here is the up-to-date version.

With thanks,

Dennis

 

Unemployment

San Francisco unemployment showed marginal improvement between April and May, with the greater Bay Area posting small reductions in unemployment as well. Napa County’s rates decreased from 10.3 to 8.7 percent—the area’s greatest improvement—while Marin County continued to report the most favorable unadjusted employment rates in the region, with a modest decrease from 7.6 to 7.4 percent. Year-to-date, San Francisco’s rate has improved by nearly a full percentage point over a year ago.

 
Bay Area Unadjusted Unemployment Rates, May 2011
 

County

May-11

April-11

May-10

Alameda

10.2%

10.3%

11.0%

Contra Costa

10.3%

10.5%

10.9%

Marin*

7.4%

7.6%

7.9%

Napa

8.7%

10.3%

9.0%

San Francisco

8.4%

8.5%

9.1%

San Mateo

8.1%

8.4%

8.7%

Santa Clara

9.7 %

9.9%

10.9%

Solano

11.3%

11.6%

11.6%

Sonoma

9.4%

9.8%

10.0%

*Lowest in state. Source: CAL-EDD
 
Historical Unemployment—San Francisco—May 2008-2011
 
Source: CAL-EDD, BLS
 

Commercial Real Estate

The first half of 2011 statistics points to a market that continues to strengthen. Rental rates in the central business district (North and South Class A) average $42.65, compared to $39.02 as of year-end 2010. Non-central-business district average rates have increased to $39.23, from $28.61 at year-end -- a whopping 37 percent.

 
City-wide vacancy is down to 13.6 percent in the first half of 2011, versus 15.2 percent in 4th quarter 2010; rental rates have jumped from $37.92 in 4th quarter 2010 to a current average of $41.60, a 10% increase.
 
The positive absorption continues to be driven by the tech sector’s demand for space, accounting for the ever increasing tightening and selection of available space.
 
Source: Cushman & Wakefield
 

Housing

Home prices were disappointing in April. The median price for single family re-sale homes fell 9 percent between May 2010 and May 2011 in all nine Bay Area counties except San Francisco (which experienced a 4 percent increase). Sales volume decreased dramatically in the region, by 15 percent. Both numbers reflect consumer caution and difficulty securing loans. Home sales in the region continue trending downward into negative territory, dropping 15 percent since May 2010.

 

 

Sales Volume
Median Price

All homes

  May10 

  May11  

%Chng

  May10 

  May11  

%Chng

Alameda         

1,596

1,349

-15.50%

$390,000

$348,000

-10.80%

Contra Costa   

1,704

1,483

-13.00%

$293,750

$255,000

-13.20%

Marin          

264

227

-14.00%

$675,500

$640,000

-5.30%

Napa            

127

122

-3.90%

$350,000

$340,000

-2.90%

Santa Clara     

2,164

1,654

-23.60%

$525,000

$498,000

-5.10%

San Francisco   

616

492

-20.10%

$636,500

$660,000

3.70%

San Mateo       

640

599

-6.40%

$605,000

$573,000

-5.30%

Solano         

652

602

-7.70%

$219,000

$189,000

-13.70%

Sonoma          

501

460

-8.20%

$335,000

$313,500

-6.40%

Bay Area       

8,264

6,988

-15.40%

$410,000

$372,000

-9.30%

Source: DQ News
 

Consumer Price Index

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics prices in the greater San Francisco area advanced 1.8 percent for the two months ending in April, influenced by higher costs for gasoline and shelter. Over the last 12 months, the CPI-U advanced 2.8 percent. Energy prices jumped 20.9 percent, largely the result of a rise in the price of gasoline.

 
Food prices advanced 1.8 percent from February to April. Prices for food at home rose 2.9 percent and prices for food away-from-home increased 0.7 percent for the same period.
 
The index for all items less food and energy advanced 0.8 percent in the latest two-month period. Higher prices for apparel (4.5 percent) and recreation (1.0 percent) were partially offset by lower prices for other goods and services (-0.1 percent).
 
On a year-to-year basis, the index for all items, less food and energy, increased 1.3 percent. Components contributing to this included apparel (4.7 percent) and medical care (2.2 percent). Partly offsetting these increases were price declines in recreation (-1.9 percent) and other goods and services (-0.8 percent).
 
 Chart 1. Over-the-year percent change in CPI-U, San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, April 2008 – April 2011
 

SFO

San Francisco International Airport activity hit a spring high as previous months of large buildup joined the current sustained, slow increase in seasonal passenger flights. International flights spiked 5.7 percent month-to-month in April—part of a 6.5 percent year-to-date increase.

 

Airport Activity (SFO)

Apr-11

Apr-10

% change M-M

% change YTD

Total Passengers

3,209,189

3,151,412

1.8%

3.9%

Domestic

2,480,645

2,453,879

1.1%

3.1%

International

711,220

672,827

5.7%

6.5%

Flight Operations – Total

32,232

31,289

3.0%

2.1%

 
Source: FlySFO
 
Airport Activity
 
SFO was ranked fifth worldwide (behind NYC, Chicago, London, and Paris) in terms of aircraft movement in PriceWaterhouseCoopers’s 2011 Cities of Opportunity Report, reflecting the importance of a strong regional airport and its role in economic vitality.
 
Virgin America got a head-start on the summer travel season last month with inaugural service to Chicago’s O’Hare, offering three daily roundtrip flights from San Francisco.
 
On May 10, 2011, Lufthansa became the first air carrier to have regularly scheduled A380 service to SFO. The A380 is the largest commercial Airbus in the world, followed in June by Air France’s regularly scheduled Airbus A380 service between Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport and SFO.
 

Tax Break

As of July 1, the California sales tax was reduced by 1 percent. The new statewide tax rate is now 7.25 percent. The current adjusted tax rate for San Francisco is 8.5%. These rates will vary by county. Will this place a severe strain on the state budget or stimulate the economy?

 
 
 
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QuickFacts is produced by the San Francisco Center for Economic Development (www.sfced.org). For more information please contact:

Dennis Conaghan
Executive Director
415.352.8819
Email: dconaghan@sfced.org
www.sfced.org