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The Big Picture San Diego Blog


Mega-Region

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. 
 

 

September 29, 2016

As part of the blog series leading up to San Diego MFG Day, we’re featuring 5 food and beverage items #MadeinSD enjoyed by millions of people across the world.

  1. Kashi – Started by a husband and wife duo in 1981, Kashi began with humble beginnings in La Jolla as the couple wanted to create food that promotes a healthy lifestyle. From their flagship cereal to granola bars and many other snacks, Kashi remains one of the largest and most recognizable natural foods companies in the world. 
  2. Suja Juice – A Forbes story from 2014 sums up the start of Suja perfectly: “A surfer dude and self-taught chef teams up with a law-school dropout turned yoga instructor to create one of the fastest-growing organic juice makers ever.” The San Diego company has become the fastest growing organic, cold-pressured and Non-GMO beverage company in the U.S. 
  3. Chuao Chocolatier – Bacon, potato chip, firecracker – these are just a few of the gourmet chocolate bars made by Carlsbad-based Chuao Chocolatier. Recently moving from a boutique retailer to a wide spread distribution model, Chuao continues to expand into new markets, both domestic and international. Already widely available in high-end hotels, Whole Foods, Target and Starbucks, the company recently inked a deal that puts the premium chocolate in 7,800 of 8,000 CVS stores in the U.S. 
  4. Mission Brewery – Established in 1913 and shut down during prohibition, Mission Brewery was reestablished by home brewer Dan Selis in 2007 in downtown San Diego’s East Village. With 40 national and international awards under its belt, Mission Brewery is a staple in the San Diego craft brewing industry. Check out their facility with a tour during Manufacturing Week, here
  5. Olli Salumeria – Salami manufacturer Olli Salumeria creates artisenal slow-cured salumi includes salami, salamini, cooking fats and whole-cured meats. Founded in 2010 by two friends, Oliviero (Olli) Colmignoli and Charles Vosmik, the company’s products are a favorite of celebs like Oprah Winfrey.

Celebrate all that's #MadeinSD on October 7. Visit sdmfgday.com to get involved. 

September 28, 2016
In the midst of one of the most interesting presidential elections in many of our lifetimes, the importance of maintaining close ties with the decision makers in Washington DC becomes increasingly important – most especially for our military community. That is in part why, for the last several years, EDC and the San Diego Military Advisory Council have attended the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce's annual trip to DC in order to lead the military and defense track. 
 
This year, with the support of Chamber staff and SDMAC Executive Director Randy Bogle, EDC discussed national security implications of TPP with thought leaders from the Trumann Foundation, ways our healthcare institutions and life sciences companies can better partner with the incoming commander of Navy Medicine West, key legislative priorities for 2017 with our congressional delegation and the future possibility of BRAC with experts from Dentons. 
 
This trip gave us the opportunity to not only expand and build relationships with key decision makers, but to give a broader audience from the Chamber a chance to hear about the leading issues impacting the region’s military.  
 
When the dust settles come November 9, whether Trump or Hillary is our next Commander in Chief, EDC – alongside regional peers – will continue to ensure that San Diego’s interests are well understood and represented in at our nation's capital.