Are Workers Finally Returning to Offices in San Francisco?

The San Francisco Chronicle reports: San Francisco's office occupancy rate continued its spring recovery, rising above New York and San Jose last week, according to a review by a building security firm. After four months of increases, 33.4% of San Francisco workers were back at their desks last week, higher than New York's 32.9% and San Jose's 31%, but still behind seven major cities in security firm Kastle's Back to Work Barometer.... The city of Austin has consistently had the highest office occupancy tracked by Kastle and was at 58% last week, followed by fellow Texas cities Houston and Dallas. [And Los Angeles charts at around 40%] Both San Francisco Mayor London Breed and New York Mayor Eric Adams have urged firms to bring back workers to the office to help revitalize urban streets and the broader economy. "You can't stay home in your pajamas all day," Adams said at an event in February. "That is not who we are as a city. You need to be out, cross-pollinating ideas, interacting with humans. It is crucial. We're social creatures, and we must socialize to get the energy that we need as a city...." Around a fifth of San Francisco office space remains vacant and rents have been flat. That's better than during the omicron surge, when occupancy in New York and San Francisco was around 10%. (According to the article, citing figures from Kastle.) But there's also other metrics. The newspaper notes that the number of people exiting the stations for the San Francisco's public rail system "were up in the first three months of the year but still only around a quarter of pre-pandemic levels."

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