San Francisco Bay Area is fastest-growing urban area in the country
The San Francisco Bay Area is the fastest-growing urban area, from an economic standpoint, compared to the 50 largest metros in the U.S., per a recent report.
Driving the news: The top 10 fastest-growing cities nationwide are moving the "center of gravity" for economic activity away from the East Coast, Axios' Madalyn Mendoza reports, citing the American Growth Project by the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise, a business policy think tank.
- A strong tech industry — buoyed by pandemic-era gains for companies like Zoom — helped the Bay Area and Austin, Texas, secure the top two spots.
Why it matters: Locals and the media (us included) often talk about an SF exodus and point to the city's downtown struggle to recover from the pandemic.
- The report, however, suggests the Bay Area's economy is doing just fine.
Of note: Its definition of the San Francisco Bay Area includes: SF, Oakland and San Jose, as well as cities like Merced, Modesto, Napa, Santa Rosa and Stockton.
- Between March and November 2020, the majority of people who left SF relocated to other cities in the Bay Area.
By the numbers: The SF Bay Area's 2022 gross domestic product growth rate, an indicator of economic activity, is 4.8% — the highest on the list.
- Austin trails SF with a GDP growth rate of 4.3%, followed by Seattle with 3.5%.
The methodology: Researchers built the list by weighing factors that included county-level employment rates and economic output for each city.
Yes, but: Layoffs, hiring freezes, waning homebuyer demand and other factors indicate SF's housing market "is among the fastest declining nationwide," per the report.
- Meanwhile, about 7.6% of SF households are "thinking" about moving to another city in the next year. That would be on top of the 6.3% of the city's population that already left from July 2020 and July 2021.
- Those early pandemic departures resulted in SF's median income dropping nearly 5% between 2019 and 2021.
Zoom out: Among the top 10 fastest-growing urban areas, one other city is on the Best (West) Coast — Seattle — but Denver and Salt Lake City aren't far off.
What to watch: How SF will be affected by a slowdown in the overall U.S. economy.
- Plus, how the city fares in the dumpster fire that is Twitter and broader tech layoffs, the crypto crash and ongoing pandemic recovery.
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