Post-Dotcom San Francisco Resurges

San Francisco is experiencing a resurgence of high-tech businesses and wealth similar to what was seen during the dotcom boom. But this time around, the city's recovery from the bust of the dotcom era has a much different character.

"This boom is unlike the one that began ten years ago. For one thing, it has produced many fewer jobs. Although slowly rising, the number of workers in San Francisco is still 12% lower than during the dotcom era. Since 2000, indeed, the city has shed more jobs than Detroit. And the losses have not just been in the frothy high-tech world. The city's finance and insurance industry has moved or made redundant 15% of its workers, and now employs fewer people than during the recession of the early 1990s. Outside a few niches, manufacturing seems to be in terminal decline."

"The face of San Francisco is changing, too. Like other big cities, it is being abandoned by blacks; more unusually, Hispanics are also leaving. Long a childless place, it is becoming ever older. During the boom years of the late 1990s, the city sucked in young people. Since the bust, some of them have aged and others have left, not to be replaced. The Association of Bay Area Governments reckons the population of twenty-somethings in San Francisco fell by 38% between 2000 and 2005."

Full Story: City in a bottle



To say that

San Francisco has 12% fewer jobs than during the dotcom era and that "manufacturing is in terminal decline" is missing the point.

The City of San Francisco (like the Borough of Manhattan) needs to be thought of in the regional context, i.e. "The Bay Area". The population and economy of the Bay Area as a whole have been expanding exponentially over the past 15 years. The region is a center for finance, commerce, manufacturing, R&D, and biotech.

Unfrotunately, whenever the media attempt to compare San Francisco to Denver or even Houston, they do so in an "apples to oranges" manner. This is to say, most news publications (including the Economist) attempt to compare the "eminent" decline of the City of San Francisco to the "success" metropolitan region of Houston: see Joel Kotkin and his article on "Opportunity Urbanism"

This is unfair, because, the Bay Area as a whole CONSISTENTLY outperforms most regions in terms of job growth, per capita income, population growth, etc.

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