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Research Blog

June 27, 2018

So far, 2018 has been a year of transition for EDC. Research performed through a partnership with the Brookings Institution led us to some startling findings about how inequality and affordability pose a threat to the San Diego region’s economic competitiveness. These findings helped to build a case for if and how an economic development organization (EDO) can play a role in region-wide efforts to promote an inclusive economy. Organizations across San Diego have been working for decades with much avail to elevate underrepresented populations, bolster small businesses, and improve quality of life for more local residents. But where does an economic development organization fit in?

For more than 50 years, EDC has been the voice of the business community – lauding the accomplishments of our life sciences, tech, and defense industries. The success of San Diego’s innovation economy has positioned the region for sustainable growth, but in an economy nearing full employment, even the most cutting-edge businesses struggle to find and retain the workers they need to remain competitive.

A strong economy is an inclusive economy, in which residents, businesses, and communities all have the opportunity to contribute and reap the benefits of growth. Over the last quarter, a regional steering committee, supported by technical advisory groups, has embarked on an ambitious effort to develop and drive an agenda that points the region toward a more inclusive economy, and thus, a stronger economy. This agenda will articulate the economic imperative for taking action, identify broad regional goals, and provide concrete recommendations around three pillars of influence: building a strong local talent pipeline, increasing small business competitiveness, and increasing affordability. This process is one that will not be accomplished overnight, but here’s an update on EDC’s progress, followed by some engagement opportunities for those ready to take action now.

Progress update:

  • Inclusive growth steering committee: made up of more than 40 leaders representing academia, nonprofit, and private sector. The steering committee convened for its second gathering to set a regional target for the first pillar of the inclusive growth strategy: building a strong, local talent pipeline. This regional target aims to increase the number of post-secondary degree holders by 2030. Details to come.
  • Advisory group on a creating a strong local talent pipeline: To arrive at this target for building a strong local talent pipeline, the steering committee was informed by an advisory group of 15 subject-matter experts, who met for three working sessions in Q2. These sessions were filled with data-driven discussions on skills, workforce requirements, demographic shifts, and more to help the steering committee arrive at a regional target.
  • Advisory group on small business competitiveness: To begin strategizing for the second pillar of this effort, the advisory group on increasing small business competitiveness met in Q2, as well. To inform this process, EDC, in partnership with the Small Business Development Center, has deployed a mass small business needs assessment survey to better understand challenges facing small business owners. The small business advisory group will analyze survey results to inform a regional target for increasing small business competitiveness. Take the survey here.

Engagement opportunities:

Building an employer-led coalition on inclusive growth will take time and collaboration across multiple industries, nonprofits, academia, and philanthropy. EDC is working hard with our partners and stakeholders to ensure we remain thoughtful and strategic in addressing these regional challenges. That said – we understand you may be tired of talking and ready to take action. Below are just a few opportunities to engage.

  1. Provide a San Diego small business the opportunity to increase its competitiveness through a free coaching program by nominating a small business for the Inner City Capital Connections Program, sponsored by Kaiser Permanente.
  2. Help us better understand the challenges facing our small businesses by taking the small business needs assessment survey.
  3. Showcase career paths for San Diego’s students by hosting a virtual tour as a part of Cajon Valley School District’s World of Work program or contact Ed Hidalgo, Chief Innovation and Engagement Officer at Cajon Valley Union School District - hidalgoe@cajonvalley.net.

We’re just getting started; much more to come. Learn more.

By Kate Gallagher, economic development coordinator

June 21, 2018

In the past two decades, San Diego County Water Authority has invested more than $2.4 billion in five major water reliability projects. A new study released by EDC in partnership with the San Diego County Water Authority, quantifies the impact these investments have on our broader economy. These projects have generated $4.8 billion in total economic impact, supporting an average of 1,475 jobs annually over two decades and creating more than $1.8 billion in local wages and salaries.

The report also found that access to safe and reliable water supplies supports $482 million in total regional sales of goods and services daily – equivalent to the economic impact of nearly three Comic-Cons every day.

In addition, the report shows that more than 2,800 people work in the water and wastewater sectors at the Water Authority and its 24 member agencies. The water industry provides career opportunities across all levels of educational attainment, in everything from customer service to engineering. 

SDCWA has kicked off the "Brought to you by water" campaign to share the impact of water across multiple industries. 

 We all know that water is essential for the viability of our communities, but we often take that for granted and that is a luxury,” said Janice Brown, chair of the EDC’s Board of Directors.  “Without the infrastructure: pipelines, dams, treatment plants - we would not have reliable water. Reliable water makes us economically competitive."  

 
If interested in an economic impact analysis of your company or project, get in touch with EDC's research team

 

June 15, 2018

Each month the California Employment Development Department (EDD) releases industry data for the prior month. This edition of San Diego’s Economic Pulse covers May 2018 data, including unemployment, new business establishments, and job postings.

Highlights include:

  • The region’s unemployment rate was 2.9 percent in May, unchanged from April’s revised rate, and 0.8 percentage points lower than a year ago – the lowest since January 2000.
  • The majority of jurisdictions saw a decrease in unemployment rate from the month prior. Only National City saw its unemployment rate rise, an increase of 0.1 percentage points to 4.0 percent.
  • The labor force grew slightly, adding 900 workers during the month, up 0.1 percent. The labor force is now up 4,300 compared to a year ago, or 0.3 percent.
  • The largest increases came from leisure and hospitality, which added 2,100 jobs. Education and health services saw the only employment declines of any industry group, contracting by 300 jobs.


Read the Economic Pulse here.

May 29, 2018

Due to regularly occurring seasonal effects, San Diego, and the overwhelming majority of the most populous metros, experienced a decline in employment during Q1 2018 (January - March). Leaving the holiday season behind, the region’s total nonfarm employment declined 7,300, or 0.5 percent. Compared to a year ago, nonfarm employment was up 27,000, or 1.9 percent.

Meanwhile, San Diego’s unemployment rate was 3.2 percent in Q1, the lowest the region has seen in the last 17 years and down from 3.3 percent in Q4 2017.
 

More key findings from the Q1 Economic Snapshot:

  • San Diego closed Q1 with an unemployment rate of 3.2 percent and the third lowest among the 25 most populous metros, up four spots from the previous quarter. 
  • Following an addition of 9,500 jobs in Q4 2017, the trade, transportation, and utilities supersector decreased by 11,200 jobs in Q1, the largest quarterly loss. The majority of these jobs were lost within the retail trade sector as seasonal employees transitioned out.
  • Year-over-year, the San Diego region’s median home price continued to climb, growing by 8.2 percent.
  • VC dollars in the region increased 60 percent compared to a year ago.

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) 2018.

Read the full Econonic Snapshot here.