Skip to Content


Research Blog

October 16, 2015

Phil Blair

Download a printable version

“The September employment report was even better than expected, as the regional economy looks to be picking up speed toward the end of 2015. We saw a disappointing national jobs report released earlier this month, but it was just the opposite in San Diego, with outstanding job growth driven by our construction, manufacturing, and technology sectors.”
Phil Blair, Executive Officer
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 September 2015 period. This month’s data shows that after another weak U.S. jobs report released earlier this month, San Diego showed more strong signs of growth led by important traded sectors and sectors with high-wages.

The unemployment rate fell to 4.6 percent in September, which is the lowest it has been since June 2007. The rate is 1.5 points lower than the previous year and 0.5 points lower than the previous month. The California and U.S. average rates also fell to 5.5 and 4.9 percent, respectively, but San Diego remained lower than the state and national averages.

San Diego’s rate fell both due to a large drop in persons who identified as unemployed, as well as a small seasonal drop in the labor forcesimilar to the trend from July to August, but more dramatic. More importantly though, the labor force is up by 22,300 people from September 2014 and unemployment is down 21,900 people over that same period—all amid solid and increasing employment growth.

Unemployment Rate

Just like last month, we should note that non-seasonally adjusted employment data for the summer-to-fall months is almost always filled with wild swings in the labor force, and in turn, the unemployment rate will experience big swings. This is largely due to thousands of high school and college students entering the labor force in May and June, then leaving again in August and September as they return to school. Similarly, education workers who do not work in the summer are not counted in the labor force during those months, and we see a 4,000-5,000 job spike in government employment once they return in September. Therefore, summer swings from month-to-month should be taken with a grain of salt, while the focus should instead be on how the labor force and unemployment rate are performing differently from the year prior. In this case, we again saw strong annual figures, indicating a healthy unemployment rate.

On that note, the region’s economy continued to steadily grow well-above three percent, despite another disappointing national report. San Diego’s total nonfarm employment grew by 3.5 percent year-over-year, adding 46,900 jobs from September 2014 to September 2015. San Diego’s growth rate was again much higher than the 2.1 percent national rate. The San Diego region is still expected to average 3.1 percent annual growth in 2015, compared to only 2.3 percent in 2014.

Total Nonfarm Employment

Year-over-year private sector growth continues to be outstanding, as private employment drove 91.5 percent of all employment growth. The total private sector grew by 3.8 percent, out-pacing the private U.S. growth rate of 2.4 percent. More than three-quarters of all year-over-year private job growth in San Diego came from four key sectors: construction, tourism, healthcare, and professional, scientific and technical services (PST).

PST services, which is strongly associated with the region's innovation economy, grew by 7.4 percent and was one of the highest growth industries in the region.

Growth in goods-producing industries picked back up in September, accounting for 17.5 percent of all private job growth. From September 2014 to September 2015, the manufacturing industry added 2,500 jobs and grew by 2.6 percent, which is higher than recent months. The ship and boat building industry continued to grow at an outstanding rate. Meanwhile, the construction industry added 5,000 jobs and grew by 7.7 percent. This is usually a period when goods-producers experience seasonal August to September declines, but in this month's report, we actually saw seasonal growth in goods-producing industriesa good sign for the economy.

YoY

Other key drivers for growth included the region’s healthcare sector, which added 7,800 jobs and accounted for approximately 18.2 percent of the region’s private job growth. After signs of slowing last month, tourism industry growth picked back up, adding 10,100 jobs and accounting for 23.5 percent of the region’s growth. Tourism growth was driven largely by bars and restaurants, which added 8,200 jobs since last September.

Given another sluggish national jobs report, the September employment report again defied national trends and showed very strong signs of a healthy economy. Employment growth picked up and the unemployment rate is the lowest it has been in more than seven years. Moreover, 21,900 fewer San Diegans are unemployed than they were in September of 2014 and 22,300 more have entered the labor force. Important goods-producing sectors like manufacturing and construction are growing at high and steady rates, which is a great sign for the region's economy. As we enter the final quarter of 2015, the region appears to be in great shape to close the year.

Contributions

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.

 

October 13, 2015
Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer, Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, San Diego Regional EDC and numerous business and civic leaders revealed the results of “The Economic Impact of San Diego’s Research Institutions” – the first study to comprehensively measure San Diego’s scientific R&D cluster. In total, San Diego’s scientific non-profit, research institutions have a $4.6 billion total economic impact on the regional economy – the equivalent of hosting 34 Comic-Cons annually.

As part of his efforts to better understand the breakthrough scientific discoveries in San Diego, Mayor Faulconer convened the research institutions in December 2014 for an informal meeting. While the Mayor was astonished by the global impact of San Diego’s scientific discovery, there was not concrete data that explained what this unique, scientific hub meant for the region’s economy.

“From Ebola to Alzheimer’s to HIV, San Diego’s research institutions are developing breakthrough therapies that are advancing healthcare and quality of life on a global scale,” said city of San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer. “With this study, for the first time, we not only understand the impact these research institutions have on global well-being, but the way they drive job creation and impact our economy. I look forward to continuing the work with these scientists, entrepreneurs and research institutions to ensure San Diego remains a global pioneer in scientific discovery.”

Understanding the impact: the nucleus of San Diego's innovation economy 

EDC – with the guidance of numerous research institutions including West Health Institute, Salk Institute Biological Studies, The Scripps Research Institute and many others – completed the most comprehensive analysis on San Diego’s research institutions to date. Highlights of the report concluded:

  • Research institutions impact roughly 37,000 jobs and have a combined $4.6 billion total impact on the region’s GRP every year.
  • The $4.6 billion economic impact of research institutions equates to that of 4 San Diego Convention Centers, 34 San Diego Comic-Cons, 6 aircraft carriers, or 33 U.S. Open Golf Championships every year.
  • Independent research institutes in San Diego receive more NIH research funding and generate more patents than counterparts in any metro area of the U.S.
  • All scientific R&D, including for-profit enterprises, generates $14.4 billion annually in economic impact—roughly equal to the region’s visitor industry. San Diego is the most concentrated R&D market in the U.S.
  • An estimated $1.8 billion in federal and philanthropic research funding flows to the region’s research institutions every year.

In order to assess the scale and impact of the cluster, the study looked at independent, non-profit research institutes (e.g. Scripps, J. Craig Venter Institute, West Health) and university research centers (e.g. UC San Diego, San Diego State University), which are collectively referred to as “research institutions” in the study. Not only do these research institutions drive philanthropic efforts in the region, but they also create job opportunities across a wide-spectrum of skill-levels.

“What is perhaps most impressive is the ripple effect our research institutions have on job opportunities throughout the region,” said Mary Walshok, vice chancellor of public programs and dean of extension at UC San Diego, who also served as a study advisor. “This isn’t just about high-paid scientists. Our research economy also fuels the demand for good construction, office, technical and management jobs.”

“There is often a misconception that academic institutions like the Salk Institute are too removed from everyday business to be a relevant economic driver. But that’s the furthest thing from the truth. The discoveries, technologies, medicines and highly trained people emerging from San Diego’s research sector are vital to the economy of the region—a fact that the EDC report makes very clear,” stated Dr. William Brody of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.

A call to action

In order to capitalize on the economic impact and grow San Diego’s R&D cluster, the study calls for the following actions and strategies: build supporting coalitions with industry leaders and institutions; drive the economic development opportunities to retain, expand and attract the types of companies and investment our research community needs to compete globally, and address workforce needs by further developing technical training programs and interactive laboratories. A coalition of research institutions and civic organizations will be working with key elected officials to advocate for funding and ensure San Diego’s research narrative is carried to Sacramento, Washington, D.C. and across the globe.

“I am proud to serve as Speaker of the most visionary and innovative region in the country,” said Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins. “This study serves as testament to the drive and success of San Diego’s 100,000 individuals working in the R&D cluster – all of which improve not only the industry and economy, but also the quality of care received around the world. It is case in point how California, and more specifically San Diego, is changing the world."

Read the executive summary and full report here. 

The economic impact study was supported by a grant from the Gary & Mary West Foundation, with additional sponsorship provided by UC San Diego Extension, The Scripps Research Institute, Salk Institute for Biological Studies and Alexandria Real Estate.

 

 

September 18, 2015

Phil Blair

Download a printable version

“San Diego continues to rise above the uncertainties facing many regions around the country. Earlier this month, we saw a weak national jobs report, but San Diego is bucking the trend and exceeding growth expectations.
Phil Blair, Executive Officer
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 August 2015 period. This month’s data shows that despite a weak August U.S. jobs report released earlier this month, San Diego continued to show signs of a strong economy driven by its key sectors.

The unemployment rate fell back to 5.1 percent in August. The rate is 1.5 points lower than the previous year and 0.3 points lower than the previous month. The California and U.S. average rates also fell to 6.1 and 5.2 percent, respectively, but San Diego remained lower than the state and national averages.

San Diego’s rate fell both due to a drop in persons who identified as unemployed, as well as a small seasonal drop in the labor force. More importantly though, the labor force is up by 25,900 people from August 2014 and unemployment is down 21,500 people over that same period—all amid solid and steady employment growth.

Unemployment Rate

We should note that non-seasonally adjusted employment data for the summer months is almost always filled with wild swings in the labor force and in turn the unemployment rate. This is largely due to thousands high school and college students entering the labor force in May and June, then leaving again in August and September as they return to school. Therefore, summer swings from month-to-month should be taken with a grain of salt, while the focus should instead be on how the labor force is performing differently from the year prior.

On that note, the region’s economy continued to steadily grow above three percent, which we have not seen sustained since 2012. San Diego’s total nonfarm employment grew by 3.1 percent year-over-year, adding 42,400 jobs from August 2014 to August 2015. We have seen three percent growth or greater every month in 2015, other than April where we saw 2.9 percent growth. San Diego’s growth rate was again much higher than the 2.1 percent national rate. The San Diego region is now expected to average 3.1 percent annual growth in 2015, compared to only 2.3 percent in 2014.

Total Nonfarm Employment

Year-over-year private sector growth has also been outstanding and private employment drove 91.5 percent of all employment growth. The total private sector grew by 3.4 percent, out-pacing the private U.S. growth rate of 2.3 percent. Roughly two-thirds of all year-over-year private job growth in San Diego came from four key sectors: construction, tourism, healthcare, and professional, scientific and technical services (PST).

Growth in goods-producing industries slowed, but still showed growth, accounting for 13.1 percent of all private job growth. From August 2014 to August 2015, the manufacturing industry added 1,900 jobs and grew by 2.0 percent, a bit slower than recent months. The ship and boat building industry continued to grow at an outstanding rate. Meanwhile, the construction industry added 3,300 jobs and grew by 5.0 percent.

YoY

Other key drivers for growth included the region’s healthcare sector, which added 6,900 jobs and accounted for approximately 17.8 percent of the region’s private job growth. The tourism industry had a slower month than usual, but still added 5,600 jobs and accounted for 14.4 percent of the region’s growth. Employment services or staffing in the region grew by 4.0 percent and has been steadily growing all year, a good sign for job growth. All of these industries grew faster than the overall private economy.

Given a sluggish national jobs report and uncertainty around global events and interest rates, the August employment report showed good signs for San Diego’s economy. Employment growth remained above three percent and the unemployment rate is creeping back toward five percent or lower. Moreover, 21,500 less San Diegans are unemployed than they were in August of 2014 and 25,900 more have entered the labor force. Important sectors like PST services and construction drove most of the region’s employment growth. San Diego’s economy has shown resiliency during times of national uncertainty, due largely to its concentration in innovative sectors. We expect that trend to continue through the rest of 2015.

Contributions

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.

 

August 28, 2015

GLOBAL-SD-LOGO-F-ALL

Lately trade has been on the minds of everyone, with Trade Promotion Authority’s (TPA) passage in June, discussions around the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) hopefully wrapping up this month, and the ongoing negotiations of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Exports and trade have become the driving force behind discussions around U.S. job growth and the nation’s continued recovery from the Great Recession.

“As U.S. firms produce and sell their world-class products to customers around the globe, each transaction strengthens our local and national economies, and creates jobs here at home.”U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker

We know that supporting companies’ ability to export their goods and services is important for the economic prosperity of San Diego. Exports help sustain jobs, allow companies to pay higher wages, and spur more efficient development of technology and research and development. In 2014 alone, exports supported 72,716 direct and 131,605 indirect jobs.

Earlier this year, the Brooking Institution released new data for its Metropolitan Export Monitor. This data has been the basis for the development of the Go Global San Diego: Trade and Investment Plan, released in March 2015. Although the Export Monitor employs International Trade Administration data, the Export Monitor differs by examining production location vs. origin-of-movement. The full complete methodology can be found by going to the Brookings Institution’s website. Over the next month, we will be examining this new data.                          

In 2014, San Diego was ranked as the 16th largest metropolitan region in the U.S. in terms of its GDP ($206.1 billion) and the value of its real exports ($20.6 billion). However, when comparing export intensity (exports as a share of GDP) among the top 100 metropolitan regions, San Diego ranks 50th (10.03 percent). San Diego has been consistently improving this number over the last four years, ranking 60th (9.62 percent) in 2011. This ranking puts San Diego above peer metros such as Minneapolis (56th), New York (65th), Baltimore (90th), and Washington D.C. (95th).

Even when comparing San Diego’s export intensity to the top 25 metros by GDP, San Diego still falls below the median – ranking 14th. However, San Diego experienced the 2nd largest growth in its exports value, growing by more than 6.6 percent, with San Jose growing at 7.3 percent. Lastly, our region had the largest percent increase in its export intensity – growing by 3.9 percent. The only metro which came close to this level of growth was Seattle, increasing by 2.9 percent.

"San Diego’s international trade opportunities have been moving in a very positive direction since we first examined this element of our economy in 2012. But while we have seen export activity continue to grow each year, there is still a lot more we can be doing to better connect our economy to foreign markets,” said Mark Cafferty, president & CEO at San Diego Regional EDC. “With support from dozens of partners and business groups throughout our mega-region, our Go Global San Diego Initiative aims to increase exports, attract more investment and maximize our global competitiveness.”

The Go Global San Diego Initiative was launched in partnership with more than 20 business, civic, and community leaders. The initiative implements five strategies in order to: (1) drive job growth through expanding FDI and international exports; (2) deepen economic ties between the San Diego region and strategic markets; and (3) enhance our regional identity to increase the region’s global fluency and competitiveness. 

 


In the comings weeks, we will be posting more information regarding San Diego's exports. Subscribe here to receive the latest information.