San Francisco Chamber of Commerce Data Projects That Consumer Spending Shows Promising Growth, Especially in Hardest Hit Industries

For Immediate Release: April 15, 2021
Media Contact: Emily Abraham, SF Chamber of Commerce, (415) 409-9531




Data shows that consumers have adapted to the new economic environment since the sharp decline in spending this time last year, with a promising uptick in job postings, and employment as San Francisco transitions between restriction tiers


San Francisco, CA – The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce’s Economic Recovery Data Dashboard data shows that consumer spending is reaching near pre-pandemic levels after seeing a 44% decrease in spending since this time last year. As of the SF Chamber’s most recent data, current spending is now 10% below pre-pandemic expenditures, with the potential to meet or exceed pre-pandemic spending as San Francisco continues to see reduced COVID-19 cases.

Based on a comparison between California public health data, and the SF Chamber’s own consumer spending data, San Francisco consumer spending has continuously trended upwards since April of last year despite waves of COVID-19 surges. This trend may suggest consumers have adjusted to the new economic landscape, likely bolstered by the increased household savings rate. Given the promising trajectory, positive growth in the local economy will likely continue as San Francisco leads the way in vaccinations and reducing active COVID-19 cases.

As a frame of reference, San Francisco has gone from the purple tier to orange tier over the course of a month, now resting close to the threshold for yellow tier restriction status. The data shows a roughly 10% net increase in consumer spending as restrictions have been lifted, and it is likely that this trend will continue as San Francisco enters the yellow tier. The decrease in unemployment and increase in job postings over the recent months offer an optimistic indicator in projecting future spending and business revenue.

The unemployment rate as of February was 5.7%, marking a sizable decrease from the peak at 12.7% in April of last year. Additionally, job postings as of late March are only 5% below pre-COVID-19 measures, which can only bode well for future consumer spending as COVID-19 restrictions lessen. As businesses continue to reopen, consumer purchasing power will increase.

Employment rates and job postings are a significant factor in assessing our city’s future, and as of now, it looks brighter than it has in over a year. For those businesses hardest hit by the pandemic, most notably the large arts and entertainment sector, this is especially true. Since the pandemic, job listings have dropped by a sizable 68%. However, positive growth in this sector already seems to be coming to fruition as live performance venues added capacity to reopen activities on April 15th. As of March, job postings for the arts and entertainment sector are now only 13% below pre-COVID measures.

Allen Scott, President of Concerts and Festivals for Another Planet Entertainment, says, “With over a year of shuttered venues, Another Planet is beyond excited to be able to bring back live music to San Francisco. Live entertainment is a staple of our city, and each dollar spent going to a show translates into 12 dollars spent in surrounding areas. However, it is a long road to recovery, and as we prepare to reopen we look to our government leaders for continued support.”

San Francisco Chamber of Commerce President and CEO, Rodney Fong, “Despite the hardships of the pandemic, consumer behavior and spending is beginning to bounce back. Even though we as a city have a ways to go in fighting the coronavirus, I feel that our struggling small business community has a real reason to be optimistic.”

“Many business leaders have begun talking about a ‘post-pandemic boom’ and based on the information we’ve been seeing, it doesn’t seem far-fetched to think that this will begin as San Francisco continues to make great strides in moving down the COVID-19 restriction tiers.”

You can visit the Economic Recovery Data Dashboard on the SF Chamber of Commerce’s website at

About San Francisco Chamber of Commerce

The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce represents over a thousand local businesses in the City, ranging from small legacy restaurants to large innovation companies. Over 80% of SF Chamber members are small, locally-owned businesses. The SF Chamber advocates for a progressive economy and high quality of life for everyone who lives, works and visits the City. Learn more at