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The Big Picture San Diego Blog


Mega-Region

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.

 
May 31, 2017

According to EDC’s newly released Quarterly Economic Snapshot, the region added 29,600 jobs year-over-year, a 2.1 percent increase in total employment since Q1 2016. However, the San Diego region saw a quarterly decline of 10,900 jobs, primarily due to seasonal workers transitioning out of retail following the holiday season.

Meanwhile, San Diego’s unemployment rate rose by 0.1 percentage points during Q1 2017, but is 0.7 percentage points lower than the same period a year ago.

Key findings from the snapshot:

  • San Diego closed Q1 2017 with an unemployment rate of 4.2 percent, the 14th lowest among top U.S. metros and below the nation’s and state’s rates of 4.6 and 5.1, respectively.
  • The construction sector saw the largest quarterly and year-over-year growth in employment, adding 2,800 and 5,700 jobs, respectively – indicative of the overall health of the economy.
  • The median home price fell 0.7 percent from the previous quarter, but is still up 5 percent compared to a year ago.
  • VC dollars in the region increased 15.2 percent compared to the previous quarter.

Kirby Brady, San Diego Regional EDC research director, explains, “A small uptick in unemployment and slowing home price appreciation are to be expected in the winter months. However, when you look at the overall trends, San Diego appears to be reaching full employment and real estate remains a seller’s market. If these trends continue, we’ll start to see wages rise.”

The Quarterly Economic Snapshot analyzes key economic indicators that are important to understanding the regional economy and the region’s standing relative to the 25 most populous metropolitan areas in the U.S. This releases includes data from January to March (Q1) 2017. 

Read it here.

May 19, 2017

"Job postings aren't staying up long, and unemployment is near record lows. I expect wages to start increasing as we approach full employment." - Phil Blair, President and CEO, Manpower

 
Each month the California Employment Development Department (EDD) releases unemployment data for the prior month. This edition of San Diego’s Economic Pulse covers April data, including unemployment data, new business establishments, job postings and who’s hiring in San Diego.
 
Highlights include:
  • The unemployment rate dropped 0.4 percentage points to 3.8 percent in April, the lowest seen since December 2006.
  • Unemployment declined in 18 of 19 jurisdictions. Only Del Mar was unchanged, with an unemployment rate of virtually zero.
  • Construction job growth accelerated in April, up 8.5 percent compared to a year ago.
     
 

 

April 26, 2017

 
The world is changing – for better and for worse. In San Diego, we know we can change it for the better and enjoy life in the process.
 
It's time we took our story into our hands. We're not Silicon Valley. We're not Los Angeles. And we're not Denver, Austin or New York. We're San Diego...and there's never been a better time to own our story.
 
Introducing San Diego: Life. Changing.: a campaign about real people who have chosen San Diego and have changed the world and upgraded their lives along the way. This is #LifeChangingSD. See the details at ImagineSanDiego.org.
 

And we need YOU to help us tell the world the real San Diego story.

April 21, 2017

“Unemployment rates are stabilizing across the region, as jobs are being filled more quickly and new businesses are coming online at the fastest rate we’ve seen in a year. Some of our biggest and best paying employers are those who are looking to hire right now.” - Phil Blair, President and CEO, Manpower
 
Each month the California Employment Development Department (EDD) releases unemployment data for the prior month. This edition of San Diego’s Economic Pulse covers March data, including unemployment data, new business establishments, job postings and who’s hiring in San Diego.
 
Highlights include:
  • With a total of 4,601 new establishments, March saw the largest number of new establishments in the past 12 months.
  • San Diego’s unemployment rate of 4.2 continues to be lower than both the California rate of 5.1 percent and the national rate of 4.6 percent.
  • Compared to a year ago, total nonfarm employment is up 29,600, or 2.1 percent, with 22,900 of those jobs coming from the private sector.
 

 

April 5, 2017

According to the Brookings Institution, more than 98 percent of San Diego’s economic growth is going to come from focusing on companies already in the region. While poaching companies from other states may command headlines, focusing on helping companies already in San Diego is what will actually move the needle. And according to the Kauffman Foundation, one of the primary reasons a startup or company chooses to grow in a region is because of its talent pool.  

So how do we ensure that San Diego has the workforce to compete?

We start by telling a cohesive story. San Diego wears many hats – we have a high concentration of tech jobs. We’re one of the top life sciences ecosystems in the country. And we’re also a pretty awesome place to live. This is what the research tells us. 

But when you’re marketing a region, perception – not fact – is reality. 

At EDC, everything we do begins and ends with research. Understanding our story and strengths is no different. With the help of two local firms, we set out to test baseline perceptions of our region. What we found is that many senior level HR managers feel like they are missing out on key recruits because these potential employees don’t know what San Diego has to offer, both in terms of career progression and lifestyle. EDC set out to figure out what our message is, what makes us different from other regions and how we tell that story to the rest of the world.

Since January, EDC has shared this message platform with more than 90 regional companies and organizations – our Brand Alliance. Next, we will be building out a website that will look at unique neighborhoods, companies and activities and a digital toolkit (fast facts, logos, imagery, etc.). The goal is to arm companies with the resources they need to better tell San Diego’s story to the world.

Our Brand Alliance is comprised of diverse companies and opinions, but we’ve all agreed on one thing: San Diego's story is worth telling.

Join us at EDC’s Annual Dinner on April 20 for a sneak peek of the campaign. 

If you are a San Diego company that is interested in learning more about this initiative, please contact Sarah Lubeck at sl@sandiegobusiness.org.

March 30, 2017

Each year at our Annual Dinner, EDC honors a business executive who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in addressing challenges and making significant contributions to improving our region. We are honored to announce Thella F. Bowens as the 2017 Honoree of the Herb Klein Civic Leadership Award. 
 
The Herb Klein Civic Leadership Award is presented by:
 
Thella Bowens was appointed the first president and CEO of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority in 2003. In this role, Ms. Bowens was responsible for management oversight of the Airport Authority and its operating budget, which generates more than $9 billion in annual economic impact for the region.  
 
Throughout Ms. Bowens tenure, she has been dedicated to expanding route service domestically and internationally, and making our region a more competitive business and tourism destination. Under her leadership, San Diego International Airport has grown to become the busiest, single-runway in the country. San Diego now has non-stop daily service to London, Tokyo and Los Cabos. Beginning later this year, we will also have non-stop daily service to Frankfurt and Zurich. Building upon its infrastructure, the airport has expanded Terminal 2 and added a new Rental Car Center. Ms. Bowens has worked tirelessly with the business community to promote San Diego as a global destination.  
 
Ms. Bowens is a member of the California Airports Council Board of Directors, a member of the World Governing Board of Airports Council International, and a board member of the American Association of Airport Executives Policy Review Committee. 
 
Locally, she is a member of the boards of San Diego Regional EDC, San Diego Tourism Authority, San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce and Kyoto Symposium Organization. Ms. Bowens has previously served on the boards of the San Diego United Way, the San Diego Symphony and the National Conflict Resolution Center.
 
Please join us at SeaWorld on April 20 to celebrate Thella Bowens and more.
February 22, 2017
The largest city in the state of Baja California, Tijuana sits at one of busiest land border crossings in the world. Together with San Diego, Tijuana is part of a dynamic cross-border metropolis where deep economic and cultural linkages result in the creation of value, jobs and exports. The unique dynamics of this mega-region provide local companies with an important comparative advantage in the global economy. Since April 2016, EDC has participated in a greater initiative to streamline cross-border economic development efforts by refining our approach to servicing corporate retention, expansion and attraction interests. This “bilateral cities exchange” called for a deeper understanding of Tijuana’s economy as a critical component of economic growth throughout the region. 
 
As such, EDC partnered with UC San Diego’s Center for US-Mexican Studies to create an economic overview of Tijuana – a seven-page document that provides a data-driven summary of Tijuana’s economic drivers, talent, quality of life, global connectivity and cost. This resource will help inform clients and partners of Tijuana’s diversifying economy while touching on the unique benefits of doing business in our binational mega-region.
 
Highlights include:
  • Economy: Tijuana is a medical device manufacturing powerhouse; 97 companies employ 21,000 workers who produced $600M worth of product in 2014. 
  • In 2015, Tijuana graduated more than 8,000 university-level students – 29 percent of which received STEM degrees.
  • Tijuana ranked #8 on the New York Times' 2017 list of must-visit destinations around the world.
  • Between 2012 and 2016, FDI in Baja totaled $5.6 billion – 63 percent of which came from the U.S. Other sources of FDI include South Korea, the Netherlands, Japan and Spain.
  • When compared to China, Mexico is estimated to have 13 percent lower labor costs and an overall average direct manufacturing cost that is four percentage points cheaper than China. 
 
Read the Tijuana Regional Profile here.
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.

December 14, 2016

Often hidden behind San Diego’s pristine beaches and thriving regional economy are the  socioeconomic disparities that exist across the county’s 18 cities.

As an organization that aims to support growth of San Diego’s regional economy, EDC understands the importance of including all communities in our work. There is much debate about what the term ‘inclusive economic growth’ means, and it’s something we are working with partners to better define in 2017. In order to understand – and define it – we must know where we currently stand. 

EDC took a closer look at the 18 cities comprising the county. The large discrepancies in poverty rates, income and education across San Diego cities show that while we are part of the largest economies in the world, we have much to improve upon. 

According to the American Community Survey, San Diego’s poverty rate is 13.8 percent – slightly below the national and state rates of 14.7 and 15.3 percent, respectively. However, eight cities in the region have poverty rates above the national average. The region’s educational attainment of 36 percent is above the national and state rates of 30.1 and 31.7, respectively, but 10 regional cities fall below the national rate. Similarly, even when the region’s median household income of $66.2K is over 20 percent higher than the national median household income of $53.7K, six out of the 18 cities fall below the national median.

Highlights from the analysis:

  • National City, with a poverty rate of 24.5 percent, is almost 10 percentage points higher than the national rate of 14.7 percent.
  • El Cajon, with a median household income of $46K, has 49 percent of its total population living below 200 percent of the poverty threshold.
  • Del Mar, with the lowest regional poverty rate of four percent, has the highest median household income at $103K and the highest educational attainment at 72 percent.
  • On the other end of the spectrum, National City has the lowest median household income at $40K (less than 40 percent of Del Mar’s) and the lowest educational attainment at 12 percent (less than 20 percent of Del Mar’s). 
  • The cities of National City, Lemon Grove, Imperial Beach and Escondido have at least 25 percent of their under 18 population living below the federal poverty threshold.
 
The prosperity of San Diego is dependent on the success and growth of all of the region’s cities. EDC is committed to increasing the dialogue around inclusive economic growth and, through data and analysis, shedding light on the region’s disparities.