Tourism brings San Francisco sunny news in gloomy fiscal climate 

click to enlarge San Francisco’s tourism industry is “close to a full recovery from the recession,” according to a new report from the City Controller’s Office. - SF EXAMINER FILE PHOTO
  • SF Examiner file photo
  • San Francisco’s tourism industry is “close to a full recovery from the recession,” according to a new report from the City Controller’s Office.

By now everyone is used to doom and gloom when it comes to news about the economy, but San Francisco’s latest economic update has some positive trends.

First, the unemployment rate has dropped to 8.1 percent, down from 9.3 percent in October 2010 and the lowest The City has experienced since February 2009.

San Francisco’s No. 1 industry, tourism, is “close to a full recovery from the recession,” said the City Controller’s Office’s economic report for October 2011, released Thursday. The healthy flow of visitors has led to an increased cost of hotel rooms. Hotel rates were at an “all-time high in October” at an average of $233 a night, up 10.7 percent from a year earlier. And employment in restaurants and bars is up by 2,000 jobs compared with three years ago.

For The City, any positive economic news is much welcomed and could mean unexpected revenue in the coffers.

The budget deficit for the fiscal year beginning July 1 is $263 million. Mayor Ed Lee has asked city departments to cut 5 percent from their budgets for next fiscal year.

This economic healing is translating into increased commercial rents, “through not yet to pre-recession levels” the report said. However, home sales “remain weak, at 2.6 percent below the level of October 2010.”

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

Big business

9.3 percent Unemployment rate October 2010
8.1 percent Unemployment rate October 2011
2,000 Increase in jobs at restaurants and bars compared with three years ago
$233 All-time highest October hotel rates
87.3% Hotel occupancy rate, up 3.3 percent from a year ago
$635K October 2011 median home sales price, down 2.6 percent from 2010

Source: City Controller’s Office

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