The summary bullet points from the Planning Department’s just completed 2011 Commerce and Industry Inventory for San Francisco which covers a 10-year time-series of data, including population, labor force, employment, wages, business growth, retails sales, government expenditures/revenues, building, land use, and transportation trends:

• Employment, the simplest key indicator of economic activity, grew 2% to 559,000 jobs over employment in 2010 (13,300 additional jobs). The unemployment rate fell to 8.6% from 9.5% in 2010. [Editor's Note: As plugged-in people know, the unemployment rate in San Francisco is now under 7% and employment is up by 19,700 jobs on a year-over-year basis.]

• The number of business establishments increased to 55,250 firms or 5% growth over 2010. The faster rate of establishment growth compared to employment growth indicates more small firm expansion than large firm expansion.

• Citywide income from jobs reporting wages and salaries increased to $45 billion, or 8% over 2010. The average earnings per job in the SF economy increased to $81,000 per worker, or 3% since last year.

• Although building permit applications increased by 3% over 2010 levels to 22,600 applications, the estimated value or spending those projects represent in terms of project cost (not all will be spent locally in San Francisco) increased to $3.4 billion, or 52% over 2010. [Editor's Note: San Francisco's current construction pipeline.]

• Taxable retail sales increased 11% over 2010 levels, to $14.9 billion.

• City revenue was $4.1 billion in 2011, up 8% over 2010 while City expenditures were $3.77 billion and did not change from the previous year.

San Francisco’s population was estimated to have hit 812,500 in 2011 with daily transit ridership at roughly 650,000 trips, up 2.9% since 2007 with ridership on the 9-San Bruno line having doubled since 2006 and now the most used transit line in the City.
The full report will be presented to San Francisco’s Planning Commission next week.
San Francisco’s 2011 Commerce and Industry Inventory [sfplanning.org]
San Francisco Unemployment Under 7% For First Time Since 2008 [SocketSite]
San Francisco’s Housing Pipeline: 4,200 New Units On The Way [SocketSite]

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by Tobias

    Is that population figure corret.
    I thought the 2010 census showed a slight drop in the population and, as I recall, it was much less than 800K let alone 812K.

  2. Posted by lyqwyd

    812K is the census estimate for 2011:
    http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/06/06075.html

  3. Posted by Tobias

    I’ve been reading there is a net out-migration from the Bay Area, including SF, and that the population overall was at best stable.
    Forbes had an article on this last May. The population should have been 11 million by now but the whole Bay Area is growing slower than the country as a whole and 7 million or so as is the current poppulation is about how big it is going to get. Largely due to developement limits across the 9 county region.
    I’d be curious to learn the population projections for SF a decade from now.
    Business may be leaving but the pipeline of condo projects seems to anticipate some growth from the current (estimated) population of 815K.

  4. Posted by anon

    I thought the 2010 census showed a slight drop in the population and, as I recall, it was much less than 800K let alone 812K.
    You are wildly, wildly mistaken. The 2010 census showed the highest population ever, and as lyqwyd mentioned, census estimates for 2011 show a further increase.
    I’ve been reading there is a net out-migration from the Bay Area, including SF, and that the population overall was at best stable.
    This is also wildly incorrect. There is a domestic net out-migration from the Bay Area, but that is counterbalanced by a HUGE influx of immigrants from all over the globe (this is similar to most large urban areas in the US – New York are LA are essentially the same in this regard – massive foreign immigration, slight domestic out-migration).

  5. Posted by Tobias

    Even with the balancing of the out-migration by in-migration that seems validate the Forbes article that the population the the Bay Area is steady at around 7 million. With not much further growth coming.
    As to SF, I hate to see even 815K folks here. Way too many for such a small area. It’s why I’m concerned about the projected new housing units. Not that they will all ever get built but if they were I suppose the population could go to around 850K. Which, IMO, is crazy.

  6. Posted by Michael

    SF/Bay Area population dropped 2009-2010, but grew (slightly) 2010-2011.
    San Francisco / Bay Area Population
    2002 793.6 / 6,932.7
    2003 792.0 / 6,968.7
    2004 795.0 / 7,036.2
    2005 798.7 / 7,126.3
    2006 808.8 / 7,217.4
    2007 824.5 / 7,301.1
    2008 845.6 / 7,375.7
    2009 856.1 / 7,459.9
    2010 812.1 / 7,205.4
    2011 812.5 / 7,249.6

  7. Posted by anon

    ^Those are the California DOF numbers rather than the census numbers.
    Completely disagree with Tobias. I’d love to see 1.5 million or so. That would get us up to a density level around Brooklyn, which is just about perfect, IMO.

  8. Posted by lyqwyd

    Manhattan is 4 times as dense as SF
    Brooklyn & The Bronx are about twice as dense
    even Queens is more Dense.
    London, Paris, Madris, Tel Aviv, Buenos Aires, Berlin, Barcelona, Tokyo, Vienna are all significantly more dense, and most of them are quite nice places.
    There’s plenty of room to grow in SF. I’d personally love to see it double in density.

  9. Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

    Tobias wrote:

    Forbes had an article on this last May. The population should have been 11 million by now but the whole Bay Area is growing slower than the country as a whole and 7 million or so as is the current population is about how big it is going to get. Largely due to development limits across the 9 county region.

    What article was that? Can you supply a link?
    What I read in May was a blog post (that is, an opinion piece) by Timothy B. Lee (who describes himself as “an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute”) that was linked-to by the socketsite editor in Is A Lack Of Density Cooking San Francisco’s Golden Tech Goose? and extensively quoting Ryan Avent while relying on inductive reasoning to reach the conclusion that the Bay Area should a population of roughly 11 million if it had grown as fast as other places (he mentions metro areas like Atlanta, Phoenix, and Las Vegas) where there also happen to be fewer building regulations and growth controls.
    And since they (people like Avent and Lee) assume that since “the free market” is perfect (because they’re libertarians), the culprit must be big bad government regulations holding back “the free market” from delivering the goods. I didn’t buy it then, and I don’t buy it now.
    I concede that the population of the Bay Area has grown by less than the growth rate for the country as a whole.
    One major thing Lee completely leaves out of his analysis is that Arizona and Nevada don’t have Prop. 13 artificially holding down property tax revenue, so of course the funding is there in places like Phoenix to pay for the public services that accompany housing growth and in particular rapid housing growth. Las Vegas obviously has other ways of funding public services besides property taxes, although wedding your city to the entertainment and consumer discretionary sectors is kinda problematic whenever a recession comes along).
    If a municipality can’t pay for the services that are demanded by new residents, then of course naturally the equilibrium reached with be lower and one way or another you’ll wind up with other measures to control the influx of new residents that will demand public services.
    Prop. 13 isn’t a “development limit” per se, but it does have an important indirect effect of limiting population growth. And this is only one factor, but for the same reasons, you can’t compare S.F. to any boroughs of NYC with a similar geographic area. New Yorker’s pay an astounding amount of property taxes compared to S.F.
    There might be “plenty of room to grow in SF”, but without the revenues to fund the public services that make living in any of the dense cities like the ones listed above by lyqwyd livable by real people, S.F. can’t and shouldn’t make the attempt.

  10. Posted by curmudgeon

    Tobias is just looking for excuses for a lower population, and is grasping at straws.
    Michael’s numbers are indeed DOF, and show that there was some massive over-estimating at the end of the last decaded. DOF numbers were brought back into conformance with US Census figures in 2010. I very much doubt there were ever 856K in SF, and there certainly wasn’t a one year 40K drop. We’ve basically been hovering around 800K for some time now, growing modestly over time.

  11. Posted by Stucco_Sux

    Oh look, another thick binder of planning-speak (its like art-speak, but worse)!
    Voters, if given the choice, would de-fund this stuff faster than a bullet train to nowhere.

  12. Posted by dissent

    “Business may be leaving…”
    What, do you think the startups are headed to Reno, to avoid taxes? You sound libertarian. Is that your ideology showing?
    Recently I read that San Francisco startups raised more VC than any other Bay Area county.

  13. Posted by lyqwyd

    @Brahma
    Libertarian’s do not believe the free market is perfect, we believe that it’s better that an unfree market.
    SF has loads of revenue, it just uses it very poorly. That’s no reason to say SF shouldn’t expand, but it’s a good reason to say we should be using our revenue more effectively.
    @dissent
    I didn’t read anything to make me believe Tobias is a libertarian, in fact his opinion that SF is too dense is contrary to libertarian approach to development / density, which is basically let the market determine it.

  14. Posted by VancouverJones

    It would be interesting to know what the skill level is of the foreign immigrants. Is it the case that the middle class is leaving and all we have left are upper class “locals” ond lower class newly arrived foreigners. Or are the immigrants highly skilled but willing to do the same job for a lot less money (” Hey, living Oakland is not so bad after all”).
    The prop 13 loophole for corporations absolutely has to be lifted to ensure that we have functioning public sservice. I think the new arrivals will be very disapointed to learn that the social mobility ladder was chopped up and used for fuel in the bank and and AIG

  15. Posted by Zig

    I didn’t read anything to make me believe Tobias is a libertarian, in fact his opinion that SF is too dense is contrary to libertarian approach to development / density”
    Well Uncle Milton lived out his years in Russian Hill didn’t he? Humans are hypocritical often it seems.

  16. Posted by lyqwyd

    ^^^ I have no idea what that means.

  17. Posted by Zig

    ^^ I find it ironic that Milton was free to choose to live in Russian Hill which existed as he found it certainly to a large extent because of government and citizens controlling other’s private property.
    I would be curious what he thought of this

  18. Posted by lyqwyd

    I still have no idea what you are talking about, and particularly how it relates to the quote from my earlier comment.

  19. Posted by anon

    Milton Friedman, a noted semi-libertarian, lived in the Russian Hill neighborhood. To Zig, it seems odd that a libertarian would choose to live in a neighborhood such as that.
    I don’t really see the irony, but whatevs.

  20. Posted by lol

    These libertarian theories are all very nice and sexy, but they contradict everything that made our current world possible. Libertarians enjoy the fruits of 80 years of a nice balance of free markets and rather efficient resource-pooling by the government. They are probably the result of this very complex but working system.
    The current anti-tax movement, which masks itself as anti-“waste” or “libertarian” actually wants to steal the future by refusing to even maintain what has been given to us by our elders. They do not want high speed trains. Heck, there would not even be trains or roads if we had applied their theories in the past 150 years.
    Everything is about a tax refund TODAY and screw the kids. Wrap it in a flag and call it Liberty all you want, I call it selling the kids short and cashing out on our forefather’s hard labor.

  21. Posted by Zig

    To Zig, it seems odd that a libertarian would choose to live in a neighborhood such as that.”
    I find it a little hypocritical but not that odd.

  22. Posted by lol

    It is indeed hypocritical. But this perfectly fits in my view that libertarians are in this theory for the sake of their own advancement.
    It’s a higher level of Nimbys: I have mine today, but, you know, I wanted to enjoy it to the fullest. Therefore you won’t have yours tomorrow because there was no money for both. Bye now.

  23. Posted by Boris

    Sounds like you’re describing Tea Partiers, not libertarians.

  24. Posted by lol

    Libertarians are using more words, but for roughly the same results: less government, less government, less government. Oh, and less taxes too of course.

  25. Posted by lyqwyd

    @lol
    “ut they contradict everything that made our current world possible.”
    I would argue the exact opposite, the U.S.’s strongest growth was under much more libertarian philosophies, and 80 years of Keynesian-ism has brought us to the brink of economic collapse. We’ve seen decades of falling real wages and a shrinking middle class, while at the same time the rich have gotten richer. This has been going on for decades, under the watch of both Dems and Repubs, not the just since the latest recession.
    “… the result of this very complex but working system.”
    The system is not working as evidenced by the global slow motion economic collapse, and decades of real rage falling and shrinking middle class in the U.S.
    You seem to have some serious misconceptions about the libertarian party. Firstly you seem to think the Tea Party and Libertarian Party are the same, which they most definitely are not.
    Here is the LP platform:
    http://www.lp.org/platform
    The basic premise is maximum liberty, minimum government. The libertarian party is only anti-tax in the sense that it desires a small government, which would therefore require less taxes to function.
    No party is perfect, but being that it is socially liberal and fiscally conservative it is the best match for my beliefs. It’s pretty much the only party of any significance that is non-authoritarian.
    “Heck, there would not even be trains or roads if we had applied their theories in the past 150 years.”
    Actually, in the last 80 years if Libertarians had been running the show we wouldn’t have built the highly subsidized highway system so we’d be much more reliant on rail transportation today. Roads, canals, & rail were much more commonly private enterprises in the first 100 years of this country. We would also not have spent trillions on defending our oil supplies, so rail would be much more competitive.
    Regarding your last paragraph, today’s politics (both Repubs & Dems) are 100% about screwing the kids, deficit spending is all about spending future generation’s money. Now if that spending was actually for things that would benefit future generations it might be OK, but that is definitely not what is happening today.
    The LP believes the gov should live within it’s means and not spend the wealth of future generations.
    The LP may not be perfect, but it’s far better than either of the major parties.

  26. Posted by lol

    The reason for our current issues is that the “less taxes” party bullied for less taxes while preventing protests by keeping the same benefits.
    Of course less taxes with the same expenses creates an obvious fiscal imbalance. Add 2 unfunded wars on top of that and you have a fiscal situation.
    The kicker is that the SAME people who created this unworkable situation are the same shouting “fiscal cliff!” today. They are vocal and shameless. And they are asking for less government, code word for free-for-all where the wealthiest will make up their own rules.
    One word: shameless.

  27. Posted by lol

    One last thing: you’d think the same people who created the 2008 mess would eat some crow after the Big Bank bailouts caused by blind deregulation.
    But no. They want even less regulation. I feel like we have this ruthless cult that will stop at nothing. They are proven wrong again and again, but keep pressing. In the mean time, people who have basic math skills try and explain, like Krugman, that blind faith doesn’t make for a valid economical policy.

  28. Posted by lyqwyd

    I don’t really care about what the red or the blue party likes to claim the other does. I only look at what they do, and they are both failing:
    – The PATRIOT act still stands
    – Nothing is being done about Citizen’s United
    – Obama signed NDAA and has dramatically increased deficit spending while continuing Bush’s tax cuts
    – GW Bush lowered taxes and increased spending
    – Clinton dismantled Glass-Steagal
    – Regan massively increased deficit spending
    – Nixon ended the last vestiges of the gold standard, which set the stage for the irresponsible debt and deficit.
    All while government has expanded no matter who was in charge of the white house, congress, or both. Red or blue, they are both responsible for the mess today.

  29. Posted by lyqwyd

    “you’d think the same people who created the 2008 mess would eat some crow after the Big Bank bailouts caused by blind deregulation.”
    Then why are you continuing to support them? The Democratic and Republican parties are responsible for setting up the conditions that led to the 2008 bust, and have done nothing to fix it, and in fact have only made it worse. TBTF banks are now bigger than before the bust. The next collapse will be even worse.

  30. Posted by Boris

    I was with lyqwyd until he veered off the deep end into goldbuggery.

  31. Posted by lyqwyd

    Leaving the gold standard is part of the progression, and a pretty critical part at that. Reagan never could have spent the way he did if it had still applied.

  32. Posted by lol

    If we hadn’t left the Gold Standard we probably wouldn’t have been able to outspend the Soviets and win the Cold War. The Soviets had huge reserves of gold themselves.
    Debasing was the next natural step in the capitalist economy. As things get more fluid and information travels quickly, a debased currency is more flexible in times of crisis. This is why the government reclaimed a lot of the gold in the 1930s because hoarders were killing the economy.

  33. Posted by lyqwyd

    Gold is not the issue. It’s merely a step in a long progression, leading us to today, not the first step, nor the most important (also not the least important), but a step.
    Failure to keep the deficit reasonable, actively transferring wealth from the middle class to the ultra rich, and the steady elimination of civil liberties (I refer to NDAA, PATRIOT ACT, attempted SOPA/PIPA, and many others similar efforts) are the real issues. Both Democrats and Republicans are responsible.
    Again I ask, if you believe “you’d think the same people who created the 2008 mess would eat some crow after the Big Bank bailouts caused by blind deregulation.” Then why would you continue to support, and make excuses for, the people responsible?

  34. Posted by lol

    One of the candidate wants to increase oversight and regulation. I am a big fan of Elizabeth Warren for instance, but she became a lightning rod for the GOP precisely for her stance on the banking industry.
    No, the parties are not equal. One is fighting to correct the system. The other one does what it can to obstruct, misinform and force its way onto the American public.

  35. Posted by lyqwyd

    One of the candidates wants to pretend he wants to, but if either really wanted it they’d be talking about re-instating Glass-Steagall. Dodd-Frank is a joke.
    There are minor differences between the red and blue party, but mainly just to distract people from how similar they are.
    Reagan appointed Greenspan, who orchestrated the repeal of Glass-Steagall, and Clinton executed it into law. The repeal of Glass-Steagall is probably the single most important cause of the growth of the TBTF banks. Obama has done nothing to fix the issue, just like Romney will do nothing if he wins. Both parties are responsible, and neither will do anything to fix it.

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