A little bit of good news: SF's jobless rate dropped last month from 5.2% to 4.8%. This is the first time the unemployment rate was below 5% since 2008.
How many people make up 4.8%? According to Mayor Ed Lee's website, that's about 23,000 San Franciscans who are still jobless. Real Estate tip site SocketSite explains that as of last month, there were 461,200 employed in SF. That's only 4,300 less than the city's peak of 465,500 employed people, reached in December 2000 during the first tech boom. In comparison, in January 2010, SF's unemployment rate was 10.1%!
What specific industries are getting more employees? San Francisco Business Times broke it down and listed the number of jobs in the city's top employers:
Professional and business services: 10.6k
Leisure and hospitality: 6.8k
Professional, scientific, and technical services: 6.5k
Trade, transportation, and utilities: 3.9k
It makes sense that as the number of professional jobs grow, other industries will also increase (especially in leisure/hospitality and construction), but it makes me wonder if Ed Lee, who's famously pro-business, will ensure that the unemployed, the underemployed, and everyone else who's not rolling in dough, will get a little help because of this boost. Just because people have a job doesn't mean they can afford to live in this city. KQED used the Economic Policy Institute's budget calculator last July and found that "it costs $84,133 for a family of four to live in San Francisco comfortably" and "a single parent in San Francisco needs an annual income of $80,703 to maintain a comfortable lifestyle." How many families who work minimum wage jobs in San Francisco really make that much?
On his website, Lee claims that this "robust economic recovery" will "allow us to tackle the significant affordability challenges that still face working and middle class families..." Lee explains that 30,000 new homes will be built in the next six years, but is that enough to house everyone? Probably not. As this depressing Atlantic Cities map shows, San Francisco is divided between the Creative Class and Service Class (according to this map, a Working Class doesn't even exist here), with the former taking up more and more of the city. What's going to happen as the professional classes continue to grow? And how can we make sure that more of the people who feed, clean, entertain, and physically build this city can live here, too?
Image by jips via Flickr