San Francisco leaders fear that a significant flight of technicians from the city due to remote work opportunities could have a “strong” impact on the city’s economy in the coming years.

In a report on the city’s five-year financial plan, officials pointed to “dramatic signs of brain drain,” including a 25% year-over-year decline in house prices that was heavily concentrated in areas where technicians had lived.

“This suggests that office workers who work remotely are the group leading the exodus and the non-low-wage workers who have become unemployed much more often,” the researchers wrote. “Churn, rather than just home work, is another consequence of the shift to remote office work during the pandemic.”

While some companies – like Twitter and Facebook – have committed to permanent flexibility in remote working, it is unclear what percentage of other workers will be asked to return to the office after the pandemic has subsided.


San Francisco leaders warn that if workers do not have to return to their downtown office buildings, it could have “serious” effects on the local economy.

“The private sector office activities that drive the city’s entire economy and tax revenue are in the downtown area to gain access to and develop the Bay Area’s highly skilled and specialized workforce,” said those in charge. “If it is no longer necessary to physically move workers to downtown offices – or to have those workers live in the Bay Area – the consequences for the regional economy could be dire.”

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The city previously announced a 43% year-over-year drop in sales tax revenue during the pandemic, which San Francisco chief economist Ted Egan attributed to people leaving the city rather than a drop in activity due to the pandemic.

Egan told Fox News that sales tax revenues were falling in areas across California, but online sales were increasing in other cities – but not in San Francisco.

Data from moving company United Van Lines listed San Jose, California as one of the cities with the largest outflow from moving companies in 2020.