Nov 15, 2022 - News

San Francisco Bay Area is fastest-growing urban area in the country

Birds eye view of Painted Lady houses in San Francisco

Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

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.

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.

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.


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