Many San Francisco economic indicators were at pandemic-era highs in March, and even though the city continues to recover, refilling office space continues to be a challenge.
According to the report, more than 20 percent of office space is sitting empty in the city. That’s up from about 7 percent in the first quarter of 2020.
Ted Egan, the city’s chief economist, said businesses are currently not that interested in leasing additional office space in San Francisco, but as downtown fills up, it becomes more attractive to office workers, residents, tourists and others.
“It does feed on itself,” Egan said referring to how having people around attracts more people. “But, it’s also a measure of perception.”
Related to office leasing is office attendance, which dipped recently to 34 percent of 2019 attendance, the report shows. In San Francisco attendance is much lower than in Austin, Texas, but has now surpassed San Jose and New York.
Indicators that are at pandemic-era highs include employment, which is at its highest level since March 2020, when the pandemic began. The total number of jobs reached about 1,150,000 in San Francisco and San Mateo counties, according to the report and the California Employment Development Department, which tracks the numbers.
The number of employed residents also reached levels not seen since early 2020. While rising, the number of employed residents is still 20,000 below the most recent peak before March 2020, the report said.