The Unemployment Rate measures the number of jobless people who are looking for work as a percentage of the total labor force. It helps us understand how many people in the population are able to and interested in work and of that pool, how many are successfully finding work.
This page uses data from California’s Employment Development Department (EDD). It displays annual average unemployment rates for San Francisco's different ZIP codes.
Why do we track this metric?
The unemployment rate is an indicator that helps measure the health of the economy. A high unemployment rate tells us that there are many people who are unable to find work. As a result, they may struggle to support themselves or their families.
Unemployment rates differ between ZIP codes within San Francisco. Looking at unemployment data by ZIP code helps us understand where unemployed people are living. It can help us understand which neighborhoods were hardest hit during the pandemic. We can also see if people living in certain areas of the City are slower to recover than others. This can help inform policies that are designed to help specific neighborhoods.
How do we interpret this metric?
Unemployment rates increased dramatically in 2020 across all zip codes in San Francisco. The shelter-in-place and other public health orders were large drivers of this change. The unemployment rate then decreased significantly in 2021 across all zip codes, though it remained higher than in 2019.
Not all areas of the City had the same unemployment rate in 2019 and not all areas of the City have recovered at the same rate.
By 2021, though still experiencing higher annual average unemployment rates than they did in 2019, most ZIP codes were within 2% points of their pre-pandemic levels.
ZIP codes that include Treasure Island (94130), Lakeside (94130), Bayview-Hunters Point (94124), and Mid-Market/Tenderloin (94102) consistently had higher unemployment rates compared the rest of the city. At the start of the pandemic, the unemployment rates in those areas climbed up to as high as 25%. Likewise, these neighborhoods continued to experience annual average unemployment rates of higher than 7% and showed the greatest ongoing increases in their unemployment rate from 2019 through 2021.
Neighborhoods like the Fisherman’s Wharf/Jackson Square (94111), North Beach (94133), the Richmond (94122), the Sunset (94116), the Excelsior (94134) and the Mission (94110) continued to experience average unemployment rates between 5-7% for 2021 and showed higher ongoing increases in unemployment compared with 2019.