ForecastSF 2015: Economic insights and what it takes to succeed as a city and as a region in the coming decades



SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – More than 300 business and civic leaders convened at ForecastSF: Cities of the Future, the region’s leading economic forecast and jobs summit, presented by Wells Fargo in partnership with the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce and its foundation partner, the San Francisco Center for Economic Development.

The sold-out event at the Julia Morgan Ballroom in San Francisco’s Financial District focused on how cities that succeed in the coming decades will be the ones that attract, retain and grow a talented workforce. The event also featured trends in consumer spending and the outlook for the region’s and the nation’s economy.

The July 1 program included remarks by Wells Fargo Chief Economist John Silvia; Visa, Inc. Chief Economist Wayne Best; Kim Majerus, Vice President, US Public Sector: State, Local and Education West Area for Cisco Systems; Rick Hutley, Program Director, Clinical Professor of Analytics, University of the Pacific; and Jay Nath, Chief Innovation Officer, Office of Mayor Edwin Lee.

The two-hour event began with Silvia providing an overview of the continued strength of the economy. “Nonfarm employment only recently surpassed the peak experienced in the tech boom,” he said. “Professional and business services now account for a quarter of employment in San Francisco. This is where most of the high-tech jobs show up.”

Best illustrated how San Francisco’s spending habits exemplify its role as a center of technology and innovation: San Francisco’s tech-savvy shoppers account for 12 percent of all U.S. software purchases on Visa’s network, even though the city makes up just 0.26 percent of the total U.S. population.

Majerus focused on how cities can use technology to improve public transit and reduce traffic congestion.

“City leaders have an opportunity to explore and execute a smart city framework to be scalable, replicable, and more efficient,” she said. “Visionary city leadership represents the first step to rethinking the way services are delivered to residents by creating an ecosystem of partners to make these deployments a reality. The City of San Francisco stands out as leading global example of city that embraces and fosters open innovation to identify new models for delivering urban services.”

Hutley said the Bay Area will continue to lead the world in innovation in technology, but the biggest breakthroughs will come in discovering insights into what data says.

“The world is rapidly evolving from the technology to the data era. San Francisco and the Bay Area need to build upon our position as the global leaders in technology and become the place where the world looks for Big Data and Analytics expertise,” Hutley said. “San Francisco and the Bay Area have an opportunity to become the global epicenter for Big Data and Analytics.”

The discussion was led by Peter Gruebele, Chair of the Chamber’s Board of Directors and the Executive Vice President, San Francisco Regional Commercial Bank Office, Wells Fargo, and Bob Linscheid, the Chamber’s President and CEO.

The Chamber thanks Wells Fargo and sponsors Cisco, Visa, University of the Pacific, Kaiser Permanente, Pacific Gas & Electric Company, Lennar Urban, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Business Times and Lending Club and supporters Delta Dental, Hathaway Dinwiddie, Nixon Peabody, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Recology and Gensler.

More information about the Chamber is available at

More information about the San Francisco Center for Economic Development is available at

Media Contact:

Marshall Wilson, Vice President Strategic Communications

Founded during the Gold Rush in May 1850, the Chamber has been a leading champion of entrepreneurialism and economic prosperity for more than 160 years. The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce attracts, supports, and grows business through advocacy, economic development, and business development.