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The Big Picture San Diego Blog


Big Picture San Diego Blog

July 21, 2017

­Each month the California Employment Development Department (EDD) releases industry data for the prior month. This edition of San Diego’s Economic Pulse covers June 2017 data, including unemployment, new business establishments, job postings and who’s hiring in the region.

Highlights include:

  • The unemployment rate increased 0.7 percentage points to 4.3 percent in June.
  • Unemployment increased in 18 out of 19 jurisdictions. Only Del Mar was unchanged, with an unemployment rate of virtually zero.
  • Year-over-year, construction growth outpaced all other sectors, up 7.6 percent; an increase of 5,700 jobs.  

Read the Economic Pulse here.

July 14, 2017

In early 2017, the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program selected San Diego, along with Indianapolis and Nashville, to participate in a six-month intensive learning lab focused on inclusive economic development. During the lab, EDC worked alongside the City of San Diego, the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation, and UC San Diego extension, to develop a deeper understanding of specific barriers to economic inclusion impacting a variety of populations across the region. The outcome of the learning lab is a data-driven narrative that will inform EDC’s strategy as we work towards an economic development agenda that benefits more people, companies and communities.

San Diego is flourishing economically, with an innovation economy and a culture of collaboration that is driving growth and transformation. According to a Brookings analysis of 50 US metros, San Diego ranks 6th in upward mobility, meaning there is a greater likelihood that an individual born into San Diego’s lowest income quartile will end up in the highest income quartile. This fact, backed by the accomplishments of a range of programmatic models and initiatives by partner organizations – Accion, Connect, CDC, Junior Achievement, to name only a few – proves the success this region has demonstrated in terms of connecting communities to the drivers of our economy.

With an unemployment rate of 3.9 percent, the region is approaching full employment, meaning companies have incentives to offer pay raises and compete for talent. However, a 2016 study by San Diego-based Center for Policy Initiatives found there are one million individuals in San Diego that are living below self-sufficiency standards. This means that one third of our population cannot afford a no-frills cost of living without public or private assistance.

A nationwide battle for talent, a soaring cost of living at home, and a growing number of San Diegans unable to make ends meet are combining to form an unequivocal threat to our regional competitiveness. We cannot afford to ignore the large parts of our region that are disconnected from the engine of growth.

EDC, with a mandate to mobilize the business community around a broad economic development strategy, has committed to mainstreaming access and opportunity for all San Diegans into that overarching strategy. Over the duration of the 6 month learning lab, EDC interviewed over 25 companies, agencies, and organizations who are engaged in innovative and impactful best practices that guide families, individuals and companies on a path towards greater economic prosperity. We hosted Brookings research teams, and worked with public, private and nonprofit partners to convene dozens of roundtables and tours across the region. And we built a data-driven narrative that outlines the costs to our competitiveness of the growing number of San Diegans without access to opportunity, networks, and skills. .

For us the work is just beginning. As the learning lab comes to a close, we begin to look at the next phase: strategy. We will continue to lean on our growing network of partners and stakeholders over the coming months as we work with and through them to craft a plan that works to make our economy more inclusive, more competitive, and more resilient. Stay tuned.

July 11, 2017

Read the full profile here.

July 6, 2017

This spring, EDC continued its Link2 San Diego series – partnering with local colleges and universities to bridge the gap between young talent and the region’s growing industries. The spring series brought together 368 students, 18 companies, 13 high schools and three colleges. The forums provide an opportunity for students to network with and learn from local executives – with discussion around market trends, innovative technologies, entrepreneurship, sustainability of businesses, workforce requirements and more. Students across the spectrum, from high school to post-grad with diverse backgrounds and degree focuses, attended these free events to explore career options and make valuable connections with industry leaders. The details:

In April, EDC partnered with Cleantech San Diego on two events focused on topics including sustainability, climate action, electric and autonomous vehicles and more. Link2 Clean Transportation and Link2 Cleantech were both held on local community college campuses, hosting 250 students. The panel discussions and networking sessions featured representatives from SANDAG, SDG&E, ChargePoint, Green Charge, Lumeo and Mossy Toyota.

In May, EDC partnered with the UC San Diego Design Lab to host Link2 Game Design – an event focused on the growing alternate and virtual reality industry. The panel discussion featured game design experts from Daybreak Games, Tsunami VR, ThoughtSTEM, Jam City and VAVi Sport & Social Club. After the panel, more than 100 students participated in hands-on virtual reality demos and networked with industry representatives during the three-hour event at UC San Diego.

 

July 1, 2017

A year ago, members of the Global Competitiveness Council – the voice of the global business community in San Diego – made a request to Mayor Faulconer: to travel internationally with World Trade Center San Diego.

And he said yes. So we decided to start our global engagement by expanding our North American relationships and traveling to Vancouver--an international city that is quicker to fly to than it is to drive to LA. And with so many similarities to San Diego, we wound up squeezing nine meetings and events into just under a day and a half.

Economically speaking, Vancouver is seen as one of the greenest cities in the world. With the Mayor's climate action plan and the ongoing development of our cleantech industry, San Diego is fast being recognized as another one of North America’s greenest cities.

Some of the highlights from the trip include:

  • San Diego-based Cubic Transportation Systems, in partnership with TransLink, Metro Vancouver’s transportation network, announced there were more than 2 million compass cards in circulation
  • Phoenix Molecular Design, a life sciences company based in Vancouver, is actively expanding its business to San Diego and plans to grow to 15 employees within two years
  • UC San Diego and University of British Columbia (UBC)  formulized  the HIBAR initiative, designed to connect their faculty to their communities to tackle problems around sustainability and climate change
  • San Diego State University became the only California university accepted into the International Sustainability Campus Network, joining UBC and other top tier universities around the globe
  • SDG&E and BC Hydro, British Columbia’s energy utility, participated in a clean energy forum
  • Planck Aerospace, a San Diego-based drone startup, was able to pitch its technology to the Port of Vancouver
  • A smart cities forum led by Qualcomm and Wavefront, the Canadian center for mobile and IoT technology, and other telecommunications/Iot companies

 

And we made it back to San Diego just in time to celebrate Canada’s 150 birthday. 

World, get ready. San Diego is coming for you. 

Learn more about the trade mission by checking out #SDinVancouver

 

June 29, 2017

The California Competes Tax Credit is an income tax credit program available to businesses expanding or relocating to California. Created in 2014 by the California legislature and overseen by Governor Jerry Brown’s Office of Business and Economic Development, the California Competes Tax Credit is divided into three separate rounds for each fiscal year. In FY 15-17, more than 270 companies were awarded more than $204 million in tax credits.
 
In all three rounds this year combined, 30 San Diego companies earned more than $20 million in income tax credits – claiming 10 percent of the total tax credits awarded in FY 16-17. In return, these San Diego companies have committed to $242 million of investments and 1,408 new jobs totaling more than $340 million in wages by 2021.
 
In the third and final round that took place this June, San Diego companies were awarded about $3 million in tax credits, making up five percent of the total $59 million awarded across the state. For each round of the program, businesses are categorized as either small or large, with credit amounts distributed to both groups. During the June round, San Diego small businesses made up 1.79 percent of the total tax credits – totaling $1.05 million – while large companies made up 3.73 percent of the total, or $1.9 million.
 
The Cal Competes program will open its first round of the FY 17-18 on July 24, in which $75 million of this year’s $250 million is up for grabs. If your business is considering relocating to, or expanding in, California, we encourage you to leverage the program as tool to reduce your tax liability. The EDC team stands by to assist with applications, as we have with many other San Diego companies.
 
Attend an upcoming workshop in Vista or Oceanside to learn how your business can apply for a tax credit, or contact Jesse Gipe for more information.
 
June 26, 2017
The 2017 BIO International Convention, the world’s leading biotechnology conference, came to San Diego in June and brought with it more than 16,100 attendees from 74 countries. While here, many of these delegations – comprised of venture capitalists, foreign dignitaries, private companies and others – send hundreds of meeting and/or tour requests to local businesses and organizations.
 
WTC San Diego, in partnership with Biocom, launched discoversdbio.com in order to streamline such requests. In this pilot year, the website handled requests from 32 delegations, representing 388 people. More than 75 percent of these delegations consisted of companies seeking partnership opportunities with locals such as JLABS, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Renova Therapeutics and more. 
 
Foreign direct investment (FDI) is an integral part of San Diego’s life sciences cluster. In Q1 2017 alone, San Diego’s life sciences cluster received more than $1.7 billion in FDI – more than 75 percent of the region’s total FDI during that quarter. Strategically implementing tools such as this website helps local companies vet future opportunities. 
 
Moving forward, partner organizations can leverage the website to connect visiting delegations with local businesses and institutions.
June 26, 2017

This op-ed was originally published by San Diego Union-Tribune, and authored by Matt Cole, Magda Marquet and Michelle Sterling.
 
This is a time of profound disruption in the global economic system: The rules of global commerce are shifting rapidly, the pace of innovation and competition is generating winners and losers, and political volatility around the world is creating an uncertain environment for businesses large and small.
 
Now, more than ever, it is time for cities to step up and lead. And to lead, they must be seen.
 
For San Diego companies, global connectivity matters. Whether it’s biotech or manufacturing, most businesses have customers outside of San Diego, which allows them to add jobs here at home. In 2015, San Diego exported more than $17 billion in goods overseas, as well as billions more in services like software, cybersecurity, engineering and research. Small- and medium-sized businesses produce 92 percent of those goods. According to the Brookings Institution, companies that are global pay higher wages, are less likely to go out of business and increase productivity of the domestic market.
 
Our competitive advantage here in San Diego is that we develop and produce life-saving and life-changing technologies better than almost anywhere else in the world.
 
Four years ago, Althea was a midsize life sciences company with great talent and a compelling business proposition. A personal relationship, and chance meeting at a trade show, began a relationship with Japanese multinational Ajinomoto that has drawn millions of dollars of investment into the region, and enabled Althea to become a global player in the development and manufacturing of biologics and innovative pharmaceuticals.
 
For Cubic Transportation Systems (CTS), a business unit of Cubic Corp., providing public transportation solutions is one example of where public-private partnerships can be applied. From Chicago to Sydney, Vancouver and London, Cubic-powered technology and services move 38 million people seamlessly on a daily basis. This form of service requires collaborative working relationships between metro governments, transportation authorities and the private sector. And more often than not, these relationships need to be built over time by political and civic leadership to be effective.
 
Most San Diegans know the name Qualcomm but are less familiar with the transformative impact that the company has had in the world through its innovation in wireless technologies that power the global economy. What started in 1985 as a startup co-founded by a UC San Diego professor has grown into a company that has invented the technologies that make smartphones indispensable in our lives. With each technology Qualcomm invents and with each employee it hires, people from Brazil to China are learning how San Diego is changing the world.
 
The 600 largest cities in the world account for 60 percent of the global economy, and that economy is increasingly crowded, confusing and contested. Metros need strong leadership, unified voices and targeted strategies to compete. This is why mayors around the world are uniting to take on big issues like climate change, trade and poverty. It is why the mayors of every major U.S. city are on the road like never before, opening doors for the expansion of their regional economies. It is why we, as the Global Competitiveness Council — the voice of the global business community here in the San Diego region — called on Mayor Kevin Faulconer to be on the road to help out.
 
The mayor responded to this call by the business community, and is traveling to Mexico City, Vancouver and London in 2017 to create civic and academic partnerships, to facilitate deals that create jobs for San Diegans, and, most importantly, to create a framework for engagement with our most important markets. Our hope is that companies of all sizes seize the opportunities the mayor is creating.
 
We know what an innovative, collaborative and life-changing place San Diego is; but now more than ever, we need our leadership telling that story here at home and around the world. Our economy depends on it.
 
Cole is president of Cubic Transportation Systems. Marquet is co-founder of Ajinomoto Althea and AltheaDX. Sterling is executive vice president of human resources at Qualcomm.
 
Mayors of every major U.S. city are on the road like never before, opening doors for the expansion of their regional economies.
June 19, 2017

Today, EDC released the first-ever economic impact report on San Diego’s genomics industry. “Cracking the Code: the Economic Impact of San Diego’s Genomics Industry” explores the economic factors that have led to the proliferation of San Diego’s genomics industry, analyzes the region’s genomics standing relative to other U.S. regions, and quantifies San Diego’s genomics-related firms, talent pool, venture capital and more.

As a way to understand San Diego’s proliferation in the genomics industry, the study also includes a web timeline that charts significant milestones at GenomicsSD.org.

As the #1 most patent intensive genomics market in the U.S., San Diego is leading the charge in a new era of healthcare. Personalized medicine and technology are taking precedence, with local genomics companies, research institutions and universities at the forefront.

KEY FINDINGS

Leadership: San Diego is poised to continue its leadership in the field of precision medicine. With more than 115 genomics-related firms, San Diego has companies that handle every aspect of the genomics value-chain – from sampling and sequencing (e.g. Illumina, Thermo Fisher Scientific) to analysis and interpretation (e.g. AltheaDX, Human Longevity, Inc.) to clinical applications (e.g. Celgene, Arcturus Therapeutics), creating a complete ecosystem. Additionally, San Diego conducts the fundamental scientific research, due in part to the concentration of research institutes, that form the basis for many global genomics therapies and interventions.

Capital: While San Diego is home to just one percent of the U.S. population, it received 22 percent – $292 million – of the venture capital funding in genomics in 2016. Continually, San Diego’s numerous nonprofit research institutes command a large share of federal funding (e.g. NIH). In fact, San Diego received $3.2 million federal contract dollars in 2016 – more than any other U.S. region.

Talent: San Diego produces more genomics-ready graduates, relative to the size of its workforce, than any other U.S. region. With nearly 2,000 average genomics-related degrees (biochemistry, cognitive science and bioinformatics) conferred per year, San Diego’s genomics companies benefit from the preparatory work of the region’s top academic institutions. In that vein, it is projected that the local talent pool for key genomics occupations will grow by an additional 10 percent by 2021.

ADDITIONAL KEY FACTS

  • San Diego’s genomics industry has a $5.6 billion annual economic impact, impacting 35,000 jobs in 2016.
  • Among top life sciences U.S. metros, San Diego’s genomics industry ranks  #2 overall, #3 in innovation, #2 in talent, and #4 in growth.*
  • From 2014 to 2016, San Diego generated 371 genomics-related patents. Collectively, 28 local firms generated 120 genomics-related patents in 2016.
  • San Diego is 3.1x more concentrated than the U.S. in key genomics occupations.
  • From 2011 to 2016, San Diego’s genomics talent pool grew by 11 percent, far outpacing the national growth rate of 5.1 percent.

*The genomics scorecard was calculated using a weighted ranking system divided into three categories approximating the genomics ecosystem: innovation, talent, and growth.

EDC’s study was underwritten by Illumina, and sponsored by Alexandria Real Estate, Barney & Barney, Biocom, Eastridge Workforce Solutions, Human Longevity, Inc., Latham & Watkins, Thermo Fisher Scientific and UC San Diego. Additional research support was provided by CBRE.

For a complete copy of the executive summary, click here. For a copy of the full study, click here. To view the web timeline, visit GenomicsSD.org.

 
June 16, 2017
In just the first half of 2017, the region has seen the official launch of two direct flights, of which WTC San Diego and EDC have assisted the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority in attracting: Condor Airlines’ direct service to Frankfurt, Germany and Edelweiss’ direct service to Zurich, Switzerland. 
 
This week, Edelweiss launched its inaugural flight. WTC and EDC assisted in hosting a private luncheon earlier this year with Swiss-owned and San Diego-based companies seeking business opportunities in Switzerland. Switzerland is an important market for San Diego, especially for the life sciences industry, with more than $1.6 billion in investment from Switzerland.