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Research Blog

November 21, 2014

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“We continue to find ourselves in a much better position than the year before, as our labor force and employment base continue to grow. Job seekers are not only finding opportunities, but in industries that pay well.”
Phil Blair, President and CEO
Manpower San Diego


This post is part of an ongoing monthly series dedicated to the California Employment Development Department (EDD) monthly employment release and is brought to you by Manpower. Click images to enlarge in a new tab/window.

[Highlights]

The California Employment Development Department (EDD) released statewide county employment data today for the October 2014 period. At 5.8 percent, San Diego County’s unemployment rate dropped 0.1 points from September to October, and fell by 1.6 points from this time last year. The unemployment rate in the region remained 1.2 points below California’s 7.0 percent rate and tracked just above the U.S. average of 5.5 percent.

While a 0.1 point decrease may not seem particularly outstanding, the unemployment rate continued its descent while the labor force added 14,900 job-seekers this month. Unemployment claims remained flat, meaning there was one job for every one person who re-entered the labor force. This is a great sign moving forward, since it shows that workers are encouraged and finding jobs.

[Unemployment Chart]

When looking at employment changes, we see a mix of private and public sector growth, the latter due mostly to the return of public school employees. From September to October, the region’s total employment grew by 12,500 jobs, with the private sector accounting for 5,700 jobs.

Monthly private sector gains were partially offset by the continued seasonal decline of accommodation, recreation and food service workers that support our visitor and convention economy. These changes happen every year, as the summer travel season winds down. Much of this employment is made up for with seasonal gains in the retail trade sector, as businesses begin serving back-to-school and holiday shoppers.

[Tourism Chart]

Perhaps more importantly, San Diego’s total and private employment growth continued to outpace the U.S. average. Since October 2013, San Diego’s employment grew by 2.6 percent compared to 2.0 percent nationally. Likewise, the region’s private sector grew by 3.0 percent compared to 2.3 percent nationally.

Most of the private growth from September to October came from a handful of industries. Health care, education, retail trade and administrative services alone added more jobs than the net private sector, meaning the 7,300 jobs added in those industries were offset by losses elsewhere in the private sector, mostly in tourism-related industries.

[Growth Chart]

San Diego’s construction and manufacturing industries had a slow month, but that is typical for this period. These industries are still producing high year-over-year employment gains. Construction and manufacturing added a combined 8,000 jobs since October 2013, and both are growing well above the private sector average.

Innovation sectors continued to show annual job growth. Ship and boat building grew by more than 11 percent and is a critical component of our maritime cluster. The professional, scientific and technical services sector grew by 5.0 percent and represents many of our innovation employers. More specifically, scientific research and development services, which represents many cleantech and life science companies, grew by 4.2 percent since last October.

[MFGChart]

The numbers from October’s report are promising. We don’t entirely know the deeper causes behind the labor force and unemployment numbers, so optimism should be tempered in that regard. However, San Diego continues to experience above average annual job growth driven by its core industries like health care, advanced manufacturing and science-related services, which is clearly something to remain optimistic about.

Note: Our Economic Indicators Dashboard will show how our unemployment rate compares to other US metros and the US total rate when that information is released in the coming weeks.

November 3, 2014

Earlier this month, EDC released its Manpower Monthly Employment Report. Since then, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has released September employment data on all U.S. metros, which allows us to analyze some key indicators across geographies. Click on images to enlarge in a new window/tab.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • At 5.9 percent, San Diego’s unemployment rate ranked 16th among the 25 most populous U.S. metros.
  • From September 2013 to September 2014, San Diego's unemployment rate fell by -1.4 percentage points, which ranked 8th among the 25 most populous U.S. metros.
  • Since the end of the recession (June 2009), San Diego's unemployment rate has fallen by 4.1 percentage points, which is greater than the U.S. average.
  • San Diego's employment grew by more than 2.5 percent from September 2013 to September 2014, which ranked 9th among the 25 most populous U.S. metros.
  • From September 2013 to September 2014, San Diego's employment in professional, scientific and technical services (PST) grew by 7.2 percent, the 2nd fastest growth among major U.S. metros.
  • Manufacturing in San Diego grew more than 2.6 percent from the previous year, which is faster than both the overall employment growth and the U.S. manufacturing average.

[Unemployment Chart]

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently released employment data for the September 2014 period for all U.S. metro areas. At 5.9 percent, San Diego County’s unemployment rate fell by 1.4 points from this time last year. San Diego's rate ranked 16th among major U.S. metros and was slightly above the U.S. overall rate of 5.7 percent. However, San Diego's rate fell faster than most. San Diego's percentage point change from September 2013 to September 2014 ranked 8th among major U.S. metros. While the unemployment rate in San Diego was higher than some of the region's key peer metros, it still fared better than other California metros like Los Angeles and Riverside, and fell roughly in the middle of the 25 most populous U.S. metros.

[Employment Chart]

When looking at employment growth, San Diego fared better than most. From September 2013 to September 2014, the region's employment grew by more than 2.5 percent, which ranked 9th among the 25 most populous U.S. metros. The U.S. average growth rate was less than 2 percent, and only two U.S. metros, Houston and Dallas, grew by more than 3 percent.

[PST Chart]

While San Diego's overall growth is very positive, we saw more explosive growth in one of the region's most important sectors. Professional, scientific and technical services (PST) is a sector of the economy very heavily associated with the region's innovation clusters. Much of the companies and employment in clusters like biotechnology, biomedical products, cleantech and information technology fall within the PST sector. From September 2013 to September 2014, employment in the region's PST sector grew by 7.2 percent, more than double the U.S. average of 3.2 percent. San Diego ranked second among the 25 most populous U.S. metros in this measure, which is a positive sign for the region's key traded clusters.

[MFG Chart]

Manufacturing is another key industry for growth in the region, not only because manufacturing jobs are accessible and pay well, but also because certain manufacturing subsectors are critical to the region's innovation clusters. From September 2013 to September 2014, manufacturing employment grew by 2.6 percent, which was faster than the region's overall growth rate. San Diego's manufacturing employment grew at twice the rate of the U.S., and recorded the 9th highest growth rate among major U.S. metros. 

As we discussed in the Manpower Monthly Employment Report earlier this month, San Diego's economy is experiencing strong positive employment growth. That point is even more apparent now that we can observe that growth in the context of San Diego's peers. While the unemployment rate isn't as comparatively low as we would like to have seen, Summer-to-Fall seasonal effects are often felt more strongly in San Diego, given the region's large tourism industry. We've generally seen the unemployment rate track at or below the U.S. average, and don't expect that to change much in the near future.

Thank you to Manpower-SD for their ongoing support of EDC's employment trends research.

October 17, 2014

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This post is part of an ongoing monthly series dedicated to the California Employment Development Department (EDD) monthly employment release and is brought to you by Manpower. Click images to enlarge in a new tab/window.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Monthly data for September is highly susceptible to seasonal changes, so month-to-month employment changes should be viewed in that context.
  • At 5.9 percent, San Diego’s unemployment rate fell in September by 0.3 percentage points from August. In addition, unemployment was down 1.4 points from September 2013.
  • San Diego’s unemployment rate was lower than the California average, and slightly above the U.S. average.
  • The region lost 2,800 seasonal jobs from August to September, but added 33,300 jobs since last year.
  • Seasonal effects limited monthly employment growth in most private industries, but manufacturing, education services and professional and business services added jobs in September.
  • Staffing services grew by 4.7 percent since last year and nearly two percent this month, indicating demand for hiring services.
  • San Diego’s traded economies (Innovation, Defense and Tourism) continued to drive annual employment growth.

[Unemployment Chart]

The California Employment Development Department (EDD) released statewide county employment data today for the September 2014 period. At 5.9 percent, San Diego County’s unemployment rate dropped 0.3 points from August to September, and fell by 1.4 points from this time last year. The unemployment rate in the region remained a full point below California’s 6.9 percent rate and tracked just above the U.S. average of 5.7 percent. While the region experienced a decline of more than 11,000 in its labor force, much of this can be pinned on seasonal effects, as temporary summer workers fall out of the labor force. Since September of last year, the labor force gained 11,100 people, 33,900 more people have identified as employed, and 22,200 less people have identified as unemployed, indicating positive momentum in the labor market.

[Employment Chart]

When looking at employment changes, September seasonal effects played a role here as well. From August to September, the region’s total employment fell by 2,800 jobs, with the private sector falling by 7,400 jobs. Private sector losses were partially offset by 4,500 public sector education workers returning to their jobs. While these numbers appear threatening, it can be almost entirely pinned on seasonal losses in common summer growth industries like construction and tourism. When looking at year-over-year growth, we see that San Diego added 33,300 jobs, 32,400 of which are from the private sector. San Diego continued to out-pace national growth as well. Employment from September 2013 to 2014 grew by approximately 2.5 percent overall and three percent in the private sector, while the U.S. grew by about a half point slower.

[PST Chart]

San Diego’s traded economies continued to drive much of the region’s employment growth. Professional, scientific and technical services (PST), heavily associated with innovation, was one of the few industries to add jobs in the down season. The industry added 600 jobs since August 2014. More importantly, PST added 8,900 jobs since September 2013, a growth rate of 7.2 percent, which is nearly three times the economy-wide 2.5 percent growth rate. PST includes subsectors like scientific research and development services, which is a key driver of our life sciences. This subsector grew by 4.6 percent over the year.

San Diego’s tourism industry continued its normal seasonal decline, losing 5,700 jobs from August to September. However, the industry added 3,700 jobs since September 2013, indicating that the industry is still performing well.

San Diego’s goods producers continued their steady employment growth, despite experiencing a seasonal drop like most industries in the region. Goods producers accounted for more than 27 percent of the annual job growth. The construction industry, despite losing 1,400 jobs last month, added 6,300 jobs from September 2013 to 2014, a 10.2 percent increase. Manufacturing was one of the few industries to grow this month, adding 600 jobs from August to September. This industry has added 2,500 jobs since September 2013,

Other substantial annual growth industries include ship and boat building, which grew by more than 11 percent and is a critical component of our maritime cluster. San Diego’s movers of goods have also been growing rapidly, as transportation and warehousing employment grew 7.5 percent over the year.

[Growth Chart]

While the apparent seasonal effects in this month’s report may grab the headlines, San Diego is performing well so far in 2014. San Diego’s key driving industries have had an outstanding year, at least in terms of job growth, and the region has continued to add middle-to-high paying jobs in industries like manufacturing, construction and PST services. San Diego continued to out-pace the U.S. in job growth, while seeing a healthy decline in the unemployment rate. With one quarter remaining, San Diego’s labor market has exceeded many expectations.

Note: Our Economic Indicators Dashboard will show how our unemployment rate compares to other US metros and the US total rate when that information is released in the coming weeks.

September 19, 2014

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This post is part of an ongoing monthly series dedicated to the California Employment Development Department (EDD) monthly employment release and is brought to you by Manpower. Click images to enlarge in a new tab/window.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • As predicted, August marked the rebound from the seasonal effects experienced in the previous two months.
  • At 6.2 percent, San Diego’s unemployment rate fell in August by 0.7 percentage points from July. In addition, unemployment was down 1.5 points from August 2013.
  • San Diego’s unemployment rate was lower than the California average, and returned below the U.S. average.
  • The region gained 3,500 jobs from July to August, and added 34,200 jobs since last year.
  • A booming construction industry added 6,800 jobs since August 2013, a more than 10.8 percent increase over the year.
  • The manufacturing industry added 2,200 jobs since the previous August.
  • Staffing services grew by more than 2.5 percent since last year, indicating demand for hiring services.
  • San Diego’s traded economies continued to drive much of the monthly and annual employment growth.

[Unemployment Chart]

The California Employment Development Department (EDD) released statewide county employment data today for the August 2014 period. At 6.2 percent San Diego County’s unemployment rate dropped 0.7 points from July to August, and fell by 1.5 points from this time last year. The unemployment rate in the region remained lower than California’s average, and returned to below the U.S. average of 6.3. As predicted in previous monthly reports, August began the seasonal decline of the unemployment rate. However, unlike the U.S. jobs report released earlier this month, August’s decline in San Diego was not driven by a lower labor force. In fact, San Diego’s labor force increased by 5,500 from July to August, as 6,600 less people registered as unemployed.

[Employment Chart]

When looking at employment growth, we’ve continued to see positive signs of steady growth, particularly in San Diego’s private sector. From July to August, the region added 3,500 jobs, more than 82 percent of which came from the private sector. The private sector added 2,900 jobs from July to August, a sign of continued economic growth. When looking at overall growth since last August, the region’s economy added 34,200 jobs, a 2.6 percent increase. Meanwhile, the region’s private sector grew by more than 3 percent over that period. With unemployment down and the economy consistently adding jobs, it appears as though many job seekers are finding landing spots as the economy continues to improve, and much of the growth is in middle-to-high paying industries.

[Growth Chart]

San Diego’s traded economies continued to drive much of the region’s employment growth. Professional, scientific and technical services (PST), heavily associated with innovation, added 1,600 jobs since July 2014, which accounted for more than half of private sector job growth since July. PST added 7,800 jobs since August 2013, for an annual growth rate of an impressive 6.2 percent, well above the economy-wide average of 2.6 percent. PST includes subsectors like scientific research and development, which is a key driver of our life sciences. This subsector grew by more than 4.2 percent over the year.

San Diego’s tourism industry began its seasonal decline, losing 2,700 jobs from July to August. However, the industry added 3,600 jobs since August 2013, indicating that the industry is still performing well. Health care and social services was another major contributor, adding 5,700 jobs since August 2013. Combined, PST, Tourism and Health Care accounted for more than half of the region’s annual private employment growth.

San Diego’s goods producing industries continued their steady employment growth. Manufacturing remained flat from July to August, but added a total of 2,200 jobs since August 2013. Meanwhile, the construction industry continued to boom. The industry added 500 jobs from July to August and 6,800 jobs since August 2013, for an astounding 10.9 percent annual growth rate. Combined, the manufacturing and construction industries accounted for more than one quarter of private employment growth from 2013 to 2014.

[Construction Chart]

The August employment report confirmed that much of the negativity that we saw in June and July were simply seasonal effects and not indicative of any negative trend. The recession is clearly in the rear-view mirror and has been for some time. May 2011 was the last month in which San Diego didn’t record a year-over-year job gain. We haven’t even experienced a month-to-month loss in private employment in 2014, an indication of how steadily the economy has been growing so far this year. Finally, the unemployment rate declined as a result of job-seekers finding employment, not job-seekers leaving the labor force, an important sign of a healthy regional economy.

Note: Our Economic Indicators Dashboard will show how our unemployment rate compares to other US metros and the US total rate when that information is released in the coming weeks.

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