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The Big Picture San Diego Blog


Big Picture San Diego Blog

March 24, 2017

"February’s data shows unemployment rates dropping for the majority of jurisdictions in the region. Meanwhile, job posting intensity has steadily declined suggesting that employers are filling jobs more rapidly. Management, training and communications are among the most in-demand skills in current job postings. And while technical skills are still expected of job-seekers, the ability to work with and develop others is key." - Phil Blair, President & CEO, Manpower

Each month the California Employment Development Department (EDD) releases unemployment data for the prior month. Due to annual revisions, EDD did not release employment data in the month of February but released two reports in March. This edition of San Diego’s Economic Pulse covers February data and references the second of two reports from March.
 
Highlights include:
  • Compared to a year ago, total nonfarm employment is up 26,700, or 1.9 percent, with 19,800 of those jobs coming from the private sector.
  • San Diego’s unemployment rate remains lower than both the California rate of 5.2 percent and the national rate of 4.9 percent.
  • Fourteen of the region’s jurisdictions saw year-over-year growth in monthly new establishments, above the regional rate of 26 percent.
 
New Businesses by Jurisdiction, Feb 2017:

 
Read San Diego’s Economic Pulse here.
March 20, 2017
The Duane Roth Renaissance Award is named in memory of a beloved community leader who tirelessly championed San Diego's innovation ecosystem and reframed how we view our economic diversity. Presented at EDC's Annual Dinner each year, this award recognizes an organization whose work is creating outstanding inventions, innovations or breakthroughs that have changed and improved the world around us. 
 
EDC is deeply honored to announce the Salk Institute for Biological Studies as the 2017 Honoree of the Duane Roth Renaissance Award, presented by:

 
Founded in 1960 after Jonas Salk developed the first effective polio vaccine, Salk Institute is among the top five research institutions in the world. The San Diego institute is pushing boundaries of scientific discovery around cancer and immunology, aging, diabetes, brain science and plant biology. Salk has been issued 560 patents, while 38 new companies have spun out of its discoveries. Strengthened by its diversity, there are 46 countries represented by Salk faculty, staff and students.
 
Please join us at EDC's Annual Dinner to celebrate Salk and more, April 20.
March 17, 2017

Today, San Diego Mayor Faulconer announced The City of San Diego has been awarded a $1.6 million grant from the Department of Defense’s Office of Economic Adjustment to support the resiliency and growth of local defense contractors.

The City of San Diego and key partners, including San Diego Regional EDC, County of San Diego, San Diego Military Advisory Council, East County Economic Development Corporation and South County Economic Development Corporation – collectively named Propel San Diego – will deploy programs to support the region’s defense ecosystem. 

Leveraging the grant, the Propel San Diego team will concentrate on economic development strategies for companies expanding in or at risk of leaving the region. As part of this work, Propel San Diego will create a database of all defense firms in San Diego County and deploy an interactive tool to explain and model changes in defense spending activity.

Home to the largest concentration of military assets in the world, San Diego’s economy is inextricably linked to the national defense ecosystem. According to SDMAC, the total economic impact of the defense industry is nearly $45 billion.

Defense-related organizations are as diverse as San Diego’s key industries and include companies specializing in aerospace, maritime, unmanned vehicles, robotics, autonomous systems, cybersecurity, advanced manufacturing and more.

Leveraging DoD support, Propel San Diego programs aim to help San Diego retain highly-skilled talent and create increased stability for defense companies in an increasingly uncertain defense budget world. 

Propel San Diego sentiments:

  • “San Diego is proud of its military roots and our defense industry plays an integral role in our local economy,” Mayor Faulconer said“This grant will help support our local defense contractors so they can keep creating the kind of good-paying jobs San Diegans deserve.”
  • “From Qualcomm’s mobile technology to Cubic’s smart card systems and ViaSat’s broadband satellites, some of the world’s most game-changing technology is rooted in San Diego’s defense industry. Supporting the commercialization and visibility of the region’s defense-related firms, small and large, is critical to economic growth. The OEA grant and Propel San Diego collaborative enables us to do just that,” said Mark Cafferty, president and CEO of San Diego Regional EDC.
  • “The Propel San Diego initiative and OEA funding will enable a complete technology refresh of East County Economic Development Council‘s Connectory.com Network, an online resource that contains detailed capabilities profiles of industrial and technology companies across all industries,” said Joe Mackey, chair of the East County EDC board and CEO of XL Staffing and XL Security. “An upgraded Connectory that takes advantage of big data analytics will allow Propel San Diego to understand and track the wide, deep and diverse defense supply chain resident in the San Diego region, now and into the future.”
  • “SDMAC is honored and excited to be a recipient of the OEA grant. We look forward to playing a key role in facilitating the exchange of contractual information that will keep business in the San Diego region,” said Randy Bogle, executive director of San Diego Military Advisory Council.


For more information, visit OEA.gov.

March 3, 2017

Understanding our economy begins with strong data. Lucky for us, Feb/March means lots of it. 

A little about the research products released this week:

  • Quarterly Economic Snapshot: February
    Every quarter, San Diego Regional EDC analyzes key economic indicators that are important to understanding the region's standing relative to the 25 most populous metropolitan areas in the U.S. The Economic Snapshot covers data from October to December 2016 (Q4), the most recent quarter available, in regard to employment, real estate and venture capital.

    Release time: Data from the previous quarter is available at the end of the second month of the current quarter (e.g. data from Q4 2016 is released late Feb. 2017; data from Q12017 will be released late May 2017)

 

  • San Diego's Economic Pulse: March
    Monthly, the California Employment Development Department releases countywide employment and unemployment data. However, we know unemployment is only a small sliver of understanding our economy. EDC supplements this report by adding information on who's hiring, business establisments and job postings.

    Release time: The California Employment Development Department typically releases the previous months data on the third Friday of every month (e.g. Data from April 2017 will be release on May 19, 2017). However, the first few months of the year are on a revised schedule, as January is subjected to seasonal changes as some service sectors wind down from the holidays and other data is being adjusted from the previous year. Therefore, January's data was released on March 3, 2017. 

 

February 28, 2017

Every quarter, San Diego Regional EDC analyzes key economic indicators that are important to understanding the region's standing relative to the 25 most populous metropolitan areas in the U.S. 
 
The Economic Snapshot covers data from October to December 2016 (Q4), the most recent quarter available, in regard to employment, real estate and venture capital. 
 
Highlights include:
  • The San Diego region had the 14th lowest unemployment rate amongst the top 25 metros. This ranking is down four spots from Q2 2016.
  • The region’s unemployment rate of 4.2 percent continues to be lower than the national and state rates of 4.5 and 5.0 percent, respectively.
  • The region’s unemployment rate decreased by 0.5 percentage points between Q3 and Q4 2016, the 9th largest decrease among major metros.
  • Year-over-year, the region has added 28,900 jobs - a 2.0 percent increase.
  • With the exception of manufacturing, all of the region’s sectors experienced year-over-year growth. Leading the way was real estate and rental leasing which increased by 6.1 percent or 1,700 jobs.
  • The largest venture capital investments were in disease diagnosis, internet software and services and biotechnology companies. The top two deals accounted for 44.1 percent of the region’s total investment for the quarter, or $79 million.

Check out the full Quarterly Economic Snapshot here.

Brought to you by:

 
February 17, 2017

Like CES for maritime… San Diego welcomed the world's leading marine science and ocean technology exhibition and conference this week. Oceanology International (OI) – launched in London in 1969 – kicked off its first North American conference at the San Diego Convention Center, bringing together more than 1,500 attendees and 150 maritime technology companies from more than 13 countries. Led by The Maritime Alliance and with the support of EDC, OI will be a biennial event in San Diego, switching to London in off-years.
 
The tradeshow connected companies and consumers from across the world, and served to help improve strategies for developing, protecting and operating in the world’s oceans.
 
Why San Diego?
With 70 miles of coastline, a concentrated military presence and innovation-driven technology companies, San Diego has emerged as a hub for maritime technology. Driving this point home, local companies large and small set up shop at Oceanology International North America – from Ocean Aero with its unmanned surface and underwater vehicles to SonTek with its underwater sensors, or Planck Aerosystems that can land an aerial drone autonomously on a moving vessel. Attendees got first-hand access to current and impending innovation in maritime and bluetech.
 
February 16, 2017

Content pulled from a piece in the San Diego Business JournalVAVi Faced Its Own Obstacle Course
 
EDC investor and recreational sporting events organizer VAVi Sport & Social Club was looking to make a big splash at its first major international competition: a 20,000-person obstacle course and race in Sydney, Australia. Little did VAVi know its shipment of inflatable obstacles would present its own set of obstacles.  
 
The company loaded its $1 million worth of goods into shipping containers, set to arrive a month before the event. Complications arose in South Korea when VAVi’s equipment was unloaded and seemingly forgotten about on storage docks. This is when EDC came in… 
 
Having been a part of the 2015 global export assistance program MetroConnect, VAVi CEO Steve Stoloff called on EDC and the organization’s World Trade Center team to leverage its international network for support. EDC staff contacted the U.S. Commercial Service – the trade promotion arm of the U.S. Department of Commerce – to ensure the forgotten equipment would be loaded onto another boat bound for Australia. Staff also reached out to contacts in Sydney to coordinate on-the-ground transportation from Brisbane to Sydney, since this new boat would no longer be porting in Sydney. 
 
And it didn’t stop there. EDC’s board of directors stepped up to the challenge. Helping recover some of the money lost in the fuss, Linde Hotchkiss, managing partner at the global risk advisory and insurance solutions firm Willis Towers Watson, counseled VAVi on the qualms of international shipping and helped facilitate an insurance claim.
 
With all hands on deck, VAVi received its shipment and salvaged the prominent event – saving one-fifth of the company’s yearly projected sales. This is not simply a company story of overcoming obstacles in going global, but of the collaborative nature of San Diego’s business community. This is who San Diego is.
 
February 14, 2017
This weekend, years of hard work came to life for BAE Systems and partners across the state as the Barrio Logan-based shipyard cut the ribbon on its new dry dock, the Pride of California.
 
At 950 feet long and capable of lifting nearly 55,000 tons, the dry dock is the largest in California and the third largest in the nation. Used for ship repair and construction, the dry dock is flooded to allow watercraft to float in and then drained so watercraft can be set on a dry platform for work.
 
EDC board member and BAE Vice President Bob Koerber joined Congressman Scott Peters, Congressman Duncan Hunter, Port Chairman Robert “Dukie” Valderrama and an audience of more than 150 senior military personnel for the event inside the dry dock’s 100-foot walls. The dry dock was shipped across the Pacific Ocean on a 7,000 mile, 60-day journey. It represents approximately $100 million in infrastructure investment from BAE to increase the shipyard's capacity to meet the growing needs of the U.S. Navy.  
 
BAE currently employs 2,000 workers in San Diego, with the dry dock anticipated to add more jobs over the next several years. BAE is a critical pillar of San Diego’s working waterfront, where the shipbuilding and ship repair industry employs approximately 12,000 San Diegans and has an economic impact of $1.75 billion annually throughout the county.
 
With the rebalance to the Pacific, the U.S. Navy’s presence in San Diego will continue to grow dramatically over the next several years. The challenges associated with this growth include the ability for local industry to service, build, upgrade and repair the equipment for the influx of U.S. Navy vessels. With President Trump calling for the Navy to increase its current fleet to 350 ships, San Diego will be on the receiving end of increased spending.
 
February 9, 2017

If you build it, they will come…”  This mantra was true of the Field of Dreams, and now of San Diego’s burgeoning tech ecosystem.

Together with 35 of San Diego's best and biggest tech companies, Innovate78 representatives joined the San Diego Venture Group's Tacos + Tech in Silicon Valley last week. The event – appropriately held at the Computer History Museum – played host to more than 700 curious Bay Area engineers and programmers, and served to showcase the high-tech jobs and opportunities available across San Diego.

With a special focus on attracting Bay Area engineers, North County companies like ViaSat, Thermo Fisher Scientific and Verve, as well as other San Diego companies like Illumina, Dexcom, ResMed, Qualcomm, Human Longevity, Cubic, Hired and LoanHero set up shop at the job fair-like event. Company recruiters spoke to San Diego as the alternative to Northern California’s congested traffic, high cost of living, hyper-competitive workforce culture and other issues plaguing the region.

As a proud sponsor, the EDC-led economic development initiative Innovate78 represented North County at a booth, with leaders from the five cities along the 78 Corridor – Carlsbad, Escondido, Oceanside, San Marcos and Vista – at the helm. Conversations with attendees ranged from North County housing costs to the growing tech sector, to the many breweries that make up the ‘Hops Highway’ – one of the primary booths highlighting the region's lifestyle.

While many attendees admitted connection to San Diego through family, school or dream vacations, it seemed as though the region’s tech ecosystem – which employs nearly 69,000 people – has flown under the radar. Tacos + Tech provided a platform for some of San Diego County’s top employers and innovators to attract Bay Area talent through simply sharing San Diego's reality: a broad diversity of career opportunity mixed with a top-tier quality of life (and, of course, tacos and beer). For decades, San Diego has built this ecosystem, and now…the talent will most certainly come.

Tacos + Tech comes on the heels of SDVG's Beachhead launch, a coworking space for San Diego entrepreneurs working out of Silicon Valley. 

January 30, 2017

By Nikia Clarke, executive director of WTC San Diego and Peter Cowhey, interim executive vice chancellor for Academic Affairs at UC San Diego
 
During his first week in office President Trump made many bold moves, including an executive order to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a call to renegotiate NAFTA, and a threat to impose a 20 percent border tax on Mexican imports to the United States following a very public spat with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. 
 
Trade matters for economies, big and small. For a border city on the edge of the Pacific, decisions on trade policy in Washington have outsized impacts on jobs, growth and opportunities for San Diegans. 
 
Take TPP — an international trade deal originally negotiated between the U.S. and 11 other countries, covering 40 percent of global GDP
 
Right now, the status quo makes it more expensive for U.S. companies to export to other countries than it is for foreign companies to sell goods and services here. TPP sought to level the playing field, especially for the small and midsize companies that make up more than 95 percent of San Diego’s business ecosystem. 
 
It also was the first trade deal to write the rule book for the economy of the future. It protected the intellectual property of American innovators, which matters when you live in the third most patent-intensive region in the world.
 
Scientific research and development, the heartbeat of our world-renowned life sciences ecosystem and an industry dependent on patents, is five times more concentrated here than in the U.S. as a whole. 
 
TPP eased restrictions on the movement of data and services across borders, which is important when you have a globally competitive cybersecurity cluster and revolutionary big data and genomics industries.
 
In San Diego, innovation is our livelihood, and TPP would have been a game changer for all those San Diego companies that export their knowledge across the globe. Killing TPP effectively cedes leadership on trade rules and norms to China, an outcome that is unlikely to be advantageous for U.S. companies and consumers.
 
And don’t forget that 97 percent of our goods exports — primarily high-value manufactured goods worth over $22 billion — are already sold in TPP markets, employing over 120,000 San Diegans. Most of those goods are exported to Mexico, sometimes crossing the border several times before they are fully assembled. This means that 40 percent of the content of imports from Mexico — the ones subject to a potential 20 percent tax — is American-made.
 
As we pivot from what could have been with TPP and look to NAFTA renegotiation, to building a wall, to a looming trade conflict with China, we should remember that trade has always been an American reality. 
 
Here in San Diego, we marvel at the transformation over the past 50 years from a sleepy Navy town to a global city that develops life-changing technologies. We didn’t get here by building walls, and we won’t get ahead that way either. 
 
 
This op-ed originally ran in the San Diego Union-Tribune: "Trump's trade moves impact San Diego economy"

For more more on TPP and San Diego, see WTCSD's economic impact report.