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SF built one new home for every 10.4 new jobs last year

That’s not enough—not by the longest shot

Photo via Wikicommons

On Thursday the San Francisco Planning Department presented the results of the city’s 2016 Commerce and Industry Inventory to the Planning Commission, an annual tally of SF’s economic performance and outlook.

The results: Between 2015 and 2016, San Francisco’s job numbers went up, up, and up, adding tens of thousands of new positions and driving incomes ever upward. But at the same time, relatively little new construction happened.

Without further ado, the sobering highlights:

  • The total number of jobs in San Francisco went up four percent during the year. That adds up to 27,048 additional positions, driving the total to an all-time high of 703,230 citywide.
  • But the number of building permits issued declined two percent. The city issued only 29,117 new permits between 2015 and 2016, 68 percent of them for residential projects. But of course, most residential building permits are for changes to existing buildings rather than new construction.
Public Domain
  • The Planning report doesn’t tally the number of actual new units added. But the most recent U.S. Census estimate says the city added only roughly 2,600 new homes during this period. That would mean SF produced only one new home per every 10.4 new jobs during this period. Do note the census also provides slightly different figures than Planning does for things like overall population and job growth, so comparing them one to one might not be fair. But unless the census somehow missed 10,000 new homes, it’s not going to make a big difference.
  • The city is getting wealthier at a ridiculous pace. While jobs citywide went up four precent, total wages citywide went up six percent, to an unbelievable $71.5 billion in total. For perspective, back in 2012 that same figure was only $49 billion. By 2013 it had already spiked five percent to $52.5 billion. This has dragged the city’s average (not median) wage per job to $101,640, from $83,570 just five years ago.
  • City Hall efforts to get people out of cars and onto buses appears to be working...but there’s a catch. Since 2011, the number of commuters driving to work is down four precent, the number of carpoolers down one percent, and the number of people using mass transit up four percent. (Walking and biking rates were flat.) While that’s on the surface encouraging, the real number of daily Muni riders rose by just half a point—2,520 people—since 2012, and the figures don’t take into account how many people are just taking Lyft and Uber instead.

You can read the Planning Department’s full findings for the year here.