SFCED | San Francisco Center for Economic Development


Tech Boom Will Spin Off Thousands of S.F. Jobs

All politicians these days have to have a jobs plan. David Chiu, who was re-elected this month to an unprecedented third term as president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, is putting his political stock in high tech.

The proof of the strategy, Chiu said, is in San Francisco’s low unemployment rate — 6.7 percent, far below the 9.8 percent rate for California overall, according to state employment numbers from last fall.

Until 2011, Chiu said, “San Francisco was the least inviting city for tech innovation.”

Then he worked with Mayor Ed Lee on a deal to keep tech companies such as Twitter in the city by giving them tax breaks. That April, Twitter got a six-year exemption from paying the city’s 1.5 percent payroll tax in exchange for settling in the Mid-Market Street area.

The move worked, the mayor told the Chronicle at the time: “We get the benefit of their growing from 350 current employees to the 2,500 expected within two or three years. That’s a huge injection into our local economy, right in one spot.”

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The economic theory of the “multiplier effect” for core industries is a respectable and well-researched one. Sylvia Allegretto, a labor economist at the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment at University of California, Berkeley, said that much of San Francisco’s recent job growth has been in industries other than tech. Non-tech jobs in industries such as retail, construction and hospitality take up 75 percent of the recent job growth for the San Francisco, Bloomberg reported recently.

Read more: SF Public Press Tech Boom Will Spin Off Thousands of SF Jobs: Q&A With Supervisor David Chiu