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Business Climate Improves In San Francisco With Tech Leading The Way

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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce held its annual CityBeat Breakfast on Tuesday, a gathering that had a much more optimistic tone than in year’s past.

Part of the reason that many of the city’s tech leaders said the business climate is improving is because San Francisco’s unemployment rate has dropped from 9.5 percent to 7.6 percent. James Glassman, a senior economist with JPMorgan Chase and Company, said we are in the second inning of an economic recovery.

KCBS’ Margie Shafer Reports:

“For those who complain that companies are just sitting on cash and not spending it, capital spending in equipment and software belies those claims,” said Glassman.

He said the San Francisco and Boston regions are especially benefiting from tech spending.

Saleforce.com Chief Operating Officer George Hu said his company anticipates having 5,000 employees in San Francisco in the near future. “We’ve had to rethink our real estate strategy in light of that,” Hu said.

The hyper growth has prompted Salesforce to look for downtown office space to lease now, rather than wait to build a new facility at Mission Bay.

Twitter is also growing quickly. Katie Jacobs Stanton, head of international strategy at Twitter, said that the company had 160 employees two years ago and expects to grow to more than a thousand in the next few months.

“The creativity and inventiveness of San Franciscans has definitely been woven into the fabric of Twitter,” Jacobs Stanton said.

Angel investor Ron Conway said that five years ago, 75 percent of his portfolio was made up of companies located on the Peninsula. Now that mix is split between Peninsula and San Francisco companies.

“Social media companies have migrated here because you want to develop social media products in an urban area,” Conway said.

Conway is the chairman of sf.citi, a non-profit created to leverage the collective power of the tech sector for civic action in San Francisco. He said there are still a number of buses leaving San Francisco each day “taking engineers and team members of Valley companies from San Francisco to the Valley.”

But sf.citi members are now using an existing government jobs board called hiresf.org, a job-matching service for city residents. Member tech companies expect to hire 8,000 employees this year.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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