Business leaders speak at SF jobs summit

September 7, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
San Francisco's economic forecast was delivered to business leaders in San Francisco on Wednesday. Today's takeaway: It's going to be okay for the wealthy and well-educated, while the traditional middle class will continue to get squeezed.

The economic forecast was delivered by the chief economist for Wells Fargo john Silvia, who is also the former chief economist for the Senate Banking Committee. Silvia says San Francisco is becoming more like Paris and a lot less like Denver.

"It's a city that doesn't add a lot of people, but the people it's adding to the metropolitan area are very well-paid people," Silvia said.

Silvia said the city will grow good paying jobs in health care, education, leisure, hospitality and information technology, which will cause property values and rent in San Francisco to go up. The traditional blue collar middle class will continue to be squeezed.

"The reality is, many other areas are going to continue to struggle because we aren't growing manufacturing jobs," Silvia said. "We aren't growing low-tech jobs."

That's a forecast that San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee begs to differ with.

"I still look at our economy as being quite varied," Lee said. "We still have an $8 billion annual tourism."

Lee says that tourism, along with construction jobs, will continue to provide good-paying, working class jobs to residents of San Francisco.

The Governor's new jobs czar took the stage to advocate for high speed rail.

"If we can get that right, that's going to have a major benefit to the state," said Michael Rossi.

Just how Rossi plans to get the high speed trains and manufacturing jobs moving to the state wasn't something laid out by the former Bank of America vice president. He told ABC7 News he's been at the job for only a few weeks and wasn't prepared to take questions.

Rossi did tell the audience that the state needs to be more business-friendly. When asked if that meant lower taxes and less regulation, Rossi said he'd been asked that before and added the state needs to make it easier for businesses to understand what's required.

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