From the Examiner, to SFAppeal, to TechCrunch, news sites across the country have been misreporting that the number of tech jobs in San Francisco has tripled from January through June of this year, from 13,000 to 44,000. The actual increase was 13,000, up a third from 31,000 to 44,000.
Directly from San Francisco’s Center for Economic Development in response to our inquiry into the reported tripling that simply didn’t make any sense:

Since early 2012 the number of workers in San Francisco’s tech sector has grown by 13,000 to total 44,000. During the same time period, 150 more technology firms moved to the city, bringing the total number to 1,850. This growing trend is helping eliminate commutes to Silicon Valley for many San Francisco-based workers and, analysts believe, strengthening the city’s housing and rental markets.

Note that employment within San Francisco has increased by 6,200 workers from January through June, suggesting that over half of those 13,000 new tech jobs have been filled by workers commuting from housing outside the city.
UPDATE: Four hours after we uncovered the link to the correct data and first published our report, the Chronicle figured it out. The first line of the Chronicle’s report: “SF Appeal, Tech Crunch, the Examiner and others are all reporting that tech jobs tripled in San Francisco this year — a growth rate that would be stunning, if only it were true.” Stunning, indeed.
Tech jobs in SF triple in first half of 2012 [SF Examiner]
SF Tech Job Numbers Triple In 2012 [SFAppeal]
Tech Jobs Have Tripled In San Francisco Since The Start Of 2012 [TechCrunch]
Employment In San Francisco Up By 4,600 In July, Up 24,900 YOY [SocketSite]

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by Victor C

    It looks like the other sites are correct:
    Link: http://www.sfced.org/about-sfced/press/20121/tech-jobs-in-sf-triple-in-first-half-of-2012
    The number of tech jobs has more than tripled in just the first half of 2012, from 13,000 to 44,000
    Unless their own press release is wrong?
    [Editor's Note: That's simply a repost of the Examiner's story. And yes, it's wrong. Here's a link to the Center's own data to which we were directed upon our inquiry.]

  2. Posted by bigV

    “Note that employment within San Francisco has increased by 6,200 workers from January through June, suggesting that over half of those 13,000 new tech jobs have been filled by workers commuting from their homes outside the city.”
    True, but we can bet that a fair number of them are now eagerly looking to move to the city, but it just might take some time before they find the right apartment, or actually sell/buy into the city. Starting a new job takes a lot of ones energy — If you can make the commute to the new job, it might take 6 months to a year before you can also juggle in a move to reduce that commute. Add in the tight rental and housing market here and you can count on a protracted process of tech workers slowly relocating from the suburbs back into the city, a process which will lag the job creation.
    And yes, all a good reason to be bullish about housing here in SF, and the Mission in specific (since it allows easy connection to either SoMa or the South Bay)

  3. Posted by Victor C

    I stand corrected. I looked through that link earlier and didn’t catch that part.

  4. Posted by Wai Yip Tung

    “suggesting that over half of those 13,000 new tech jobs have actually been filled by workers commuting from homes outside the city.”
    Ommm… Another explanation is some San Francisco residents switch job from non-tech to tech. So the number of tech worker has gone up but not the overall employment.

  5. Posted by Wai Yip Tung

    Tripling of jobs in 6 months is ridiculous. Have the media done any fact checking before publish these thing?
    Here is a different data point that shows San Francisco has 30,000 tech job back in Q4, 2010.
    http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/Tech-jobs-near-all-time-highs-fuel-office-space-2373490.php#page-2

  6. Posted by redseca2

    Every broke kid in the Ozarks who’s tech experience is limited to stealing a Nintendo box that saw this on Fox News is already hitchhiking to SF.
    That Sit Lie Law may be useful after all.

  7. Posted by lol

    Fact checking at the Examiner has been outsourced to the 12 year old kid who throws the free (Toilet) Paper on Sunday in my Bougainvillea.

  8. Posted by SocketSite

    UPDATE: Four hours after we uncovered the link to the correct data and first published our report, the Chronicle figured it out.
    The first line of the Chronicle’s report: “SF Appeal, Tech Crunch, the Examiner and others are all reporting that tech jobs tripled in San Francisco this year — a growth rate that would be stunning, if only it were true.” Stunning, indeed.

  9. Posted by dissent

    So that’s why just about every old shack on Potrero Hill is getting a fancy remodel.

  10. Posted by lol

    And you got a reference in the Chronicle in an addendum of the story! Nice job, editor!

  11. Posted by Anon1

    Like you don’t, ahem, appropriate content? Omg. Too funny.
    [Editor's Note: Without attribution or a link to the original source if it wasn't ours? No, we don't.]

  12. Posted by sfrenegade

    True, but we can bet that a fair number of them are now eagerly looking to move to the city, but it just might take some time before they find the right apartment, or actually sell/buy into the city. Starting a new job takes a lot of ones energy — If you can make the commute to the new job, it might take 6 months to a year before you can also juggle in a move to reduce that commute. Add in the tight rental and housing market here and you can count on a protracted process of tech workers slowly relocating from the suburbs back into the city, a process which will lag the job creation.
    My impression is that a lot of new folks working in the city end up in corporate or quasi-corporate housing in the city (South of Market, Lake Merced), and not in the suburbs. Also, plenty of people who work in the city previously worked in the SF suburbs and lived in the SF suburbs before they started working in the city and won’t move — there’s a revolving door between tech companies. I can think of a few people who worked for successful companies in the Valley and lived in the city while doing so who have started their own company in the city now. This alleged effect isn’t as cut and dry as bigV is making it.
    By the way, the Chronicle pointed out that the rate of office space absorption hasn’t increased as much as one might predict:
    Yasukochi noted that a 31,000 jump in tech jobs this year would have required about 5 million square feet of space. Year to date, there’s only been about 1.1 million square feet of total office absorption in San Francisco.

  13. Posted by Anon1

    Numerous photography studios across the city would beg to differ.

  14. Posted by Dan Clark

    ^^ Not sure I follow the reference. Are you saying there’s less work for photographers?

  15. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    I think anon1 is referring to the use of listing photos included here, many of which are produced by pro photographers.
    It seems pretty common for bloggers to appropriate photos from other sources. I’m not sure but this could fall under “fair use” in journalism meaning that you can use a sample to illustrate a story and that is OK so long as you don’t outright duplicate the whole work.
    Anyone who publishes content on the web will eventually have someone else “appropriate” it. It happens to me and it probably also happens to Socketsite too. Usually the appropriators are gentle in their usage but if they aren’t there are remedies like simply asking them to take the content down.
    [Editor’s Note: Never mind the legalities of fair use, under which our use of listing photos falls, when we use a photo from a listing we go out of our way to include multiple links back to the original listing, assuming there is one to be had.]

  16. Posted by lyqwyd

    And traditional news wonders why it’s losing market share… well done SS!

  17. Posted by EDD

    You cannot draw such conclusions from such small areas for such relatively small changes so quickly. This is seasonally unadjusted data. Employment/unemployment numbers for areas smaller than designated statistical areas are only roughly modeled.

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