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The Big Picture San Diego Blog


April 2014

April 22, 2014

This is the inaugural post of an ongoing monthly blog series dedicated to the California Employment Development Department (EDD) monthly employment release.

2014_03_Total

The California Employment Development Department (EDD)released statewide county employment data on Friday for the March 2014 period. The biggest news coming out of this month’s report is that San Diego County has finally exceeded its historical seasonally unadjusted employment peak set in December 2007. EDD reported that the region now has 1,335,200 non-farm jobs as of March 2014, exceeding the previous peak of 1,333,400 jobs. Economists expected employment to rebound above its pre-recession peak sometime in 2014, and it is encouraging to exceed that mark as early as March.

Private employment, which was reported at 1,100,300 jobs, has yet to exceed its peak of 1,110,100 set in August 2007. However, March 2014 private employment was the second highest ever recorded. The region added 30,100 private industry jobs from March 2013 to March 2014, with 10,600 of those jobs being added from February to March 2014.

2014_03_MFG_CONST

San Diego’s construction and manufacturing industries continue to pick up steam as the economy rebounds from the recession. The construction industry added 2,000 jobs from February to March 2014, and added 5,800 jobs from March 2013 to March 2014. While manufacturing growth was more modest, the industry added 500 jobs from February to March and added 1,200 jobs from the previous year.

Professional and business services added 6,500 jobs from March 2013 to March 2014, the most of any industry in the region. Professional and business services includes much of the innovation economy activity, along with critical service providers like legal services, architecture services and enterprise management. It is also the largest industry in San Diego, employing more than 228,000 as of March 2014. San Diego’s leisure and hospitality industry, otherwise known as tourism, added 6,100 jobs from March 2013 to March 2014, with 3,400 of those jobs added from February to March 2014. Both of these industries had already exceeded their pre-recession peaks in 2013.

2014_03_Unemployment

The county’s seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate dropped to 6.9 percent in March 2014, down from 7.0 percent in February 2014 and 7.8 percent in March 2013. California’s statewide unemployment rate was 8.4 percent in March 2014, well above San Diego’s posted rate. Our Economic Indicators Dashboard will show how this compares to other US metros and the US total rate when that information is released in the coming weeks.

April 21, 2014

When MIT set out to the name the world’s smartest company in February, they didn’t look to count the number of patents or PHds or even stock gains; instead, they asked themselves whether a company had made strides which have helped redefine its field. The answer was not a company located in Silicon Valley or Seoul or London. The answer was – and still is – right here in San Diego. That company is Illumina.

Founded in 1998, Illumina has not only helped build the genomics field, but also has redefined it. In a time when medicine and medical research are becoming increasingly expensive, Illumina has made personalized medicine more attainable. They have made it feasible to sequence genomes for under $1,000 a patient.

Last week, more than 15 EDC stakeholders got to experience this innovation first hand when they toured Illumina’s UTC headquarters. With its wide array of platforms, Illumina is sought out by researchers and healthcare professionals as well as ancestry companies, such as Ancestry.com and 23 & Me to provide valuable genetic information. Each day, Illumina and its 3,000 global employees- 1,500 in San Diego - work to improve lives around the world by unlocking the power of the genome.

On the tour of Illumina’s campus, guides walked participants through R&D space, on-site manufacturing facilities and a suite of amenities available to Illumina’s employees, including a state-of-the-art fitness center, coffee shops, an amphitheater and the cafeteria, which employees admit is the most effective and efficient meeting space on campus. Collaboration is at Illumina’s core and all of these spaces provide opportunities for employees to exchange information and generate new ideas, developing the next ideas that will fuel Illumina’s growth as a global brand.

As MIT notes when talking about their rankings, “It might sound difficult to define what makes a smart company, but you know one when you see it.” Thanks in part to Illumina, San Diego is showing the rest of the world what smart really means.


April 15, 2014

Jacobs School Research EXPO UCSD

Capital can be a pain point for many entrepreneurs. Despite the odds, many San Diego companies have found funding. According to the PricewaterhouseCoopers MoneyTree report, San Diego companies were involved in 23 venture capital deals and received more than $145 million in funding in Q4 of 2013. However, for a variety of reasons, overall venture capital invested in San Diego still took a dip between 2012 and 2013.

A group of alumni of the University of California, San Diego may help change that. They have created a venture capital fund—the Triton Technology Fund—that is specifically focused on commercializing innovations by UC San Diego faculty, students and alumni. (Read the Xconomy story here.)

The Triton Technology Fund will invest in companies affiliated with UC San Diego faculty, students and alumni with innovations in the software, communications, electronics, materials, medical devices and instruments sectors. The goal is to leverage breakthroughs in these areas to provide solutions for business-to-business enterprises.

“Commercializing university research requires external expertise and investment. The Triton Technology Fund is going to accelerate the success of our innovators by injecting crucial resources into our entrepreneurism and commercialization initiatives here at the Jacobs School of Engineering and across all of UC San Diego and its alumni networks,” said Albert P. Pisano, Dean of the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering in a statement announcing the fund.

The university is a breeding ground for ideas and innovation. To date, UC San Diego faculty and alumni have been credited with forming more than 500 startup companies. Some of these innovations can be seen in action this Thursday when the Jacobs School of Engineering hosts its annual Research Expo event. UC San Diego engineering graduate students will present their latest research at the 200-strong poster session at Research Expo on Thursday April 17 from 2:00 to 4:30 pm on the UC San Diego campus. (You can scan poster titles or search by industry application area online.)

The Jacobs School of Engineering’s Research Expo, now in its 33rd year, also includes ten-minute faculty tech talks covering regenerative medicine, big data, video processing for medical applications, robotics education, wearable sensors, and aerospace safety. Registration is available onsite.

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April 11, 2014
Every quarter, San Diego Regional EDC analyzes key economic metrics that are important to understanding the regional economy and San Diego’s standing relative to other major metropolitan areas in the U.S. This issue covers data from the October 2013 to January 2014 quarter. 
 
In this issue, EDC presents updates on trends in employment, real estate and venture capital, with a special spotlight on the cybersecurity industry in San Diego. The spotlight revealed details of a recent San Diego industry study on the subject, including employment trends and company reactions. 
 
Industry Highlights
 
  • San Diego County’s January 2014 unemployment rate was down 1.6 percentage points from January 2013. 
  • The San Diego region added 25,900 jobs from January 2013 to January 2014. 
  • San Diego had the third lowest foreclosure rate among recorded major U.S. metropolitan areas in January 2014. 
  • Led by the manufacturing industry, industrial tenants absorbed 2.3 million square feet in 2013. 
  • San Diego firms were involved in 23 venture capital deals in Q4 2013 and received more than $145 million in venture capital funding. 
 
 
 
Brought to you by: Chase Logo
 

Visit our Research Dashboard

April 10, 2014

Brookings Panel in Seattle

 

San Diego is one of only six cities selected to participate in a new pilot program to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) to the region as part of the Global Cities Initiative, a joint project of the renowned Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase.

San Diego joined Columbus, Minneapolis, Portland, San Antonio and Seattle in Seattle today to participate in the first working session, where leadership will collaborate with other regions to address the region’s foreign direct investment plan. San Diego’s team is made up of representatives from the City of San Diego, UC San Diego, JPMorgan Chase, Biocom, Qualcomm, GO-Biz and San Diego Regional EDC.

Foreign direct investment has long supported regional economies, not only by infusing capital, but also by investing in workers, strengthening global connections and sharing best business practices. As the world’s largest economy with a stable investment environment, the United States has been a top destination for foreign direct investment and San Diego is looking to ensure it pulls in a significant portion of this FDI.

In San Diego, many small and medium-sized enterprises have pushed their attention towards the issue of capital. As venture capitalists around the U.S. become more selective about companies they invest in, we must look for alternative solutions. FDI is one answer. Although FDI sounds like an elusive term, this means more capital flow to the region as well as more international attention paid to San Diego which has a strong economic payoff.   

Sean Barr, vice president of economic development at EDC, sat on panel today moderated by Amy Liu, senior fellow at the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program, which discussed establishing a region’s global identity. According to Brookings, “the most globally fluent metro areas demonstrate a combination of an appealing identity, high standards and reputation, and global relevance in specific markets.”

San Diego has many strengths, and one of our admitted struggles is that it’s difficult to form a distinct global identity when we have so many industries of which to be proud. We are home to a thriving biotech sector where companies like Illumina - dubbed the “World’s Smartest Company” - are based. We have a strong defense sector that is second to none. From our telecom industry to our sports innovation and algae biofuels cluster, the region is an innovation hub. One thing that Sean stressed during the panel is that although San Diego loves its sun, we need to be comfortable shedding our strict tourism message and moving beyond “sun and Shamu.” Working with the Brookings Institute to increase San Diego’s share of FDI is one way to do this.

As part of the pilot, San Diego will develop a foreign direct investment market assessment and plan, along with an implementation plan and a policy memo. This work, added to the region’s existing export plan, forms the second core component of a global engagement strategy that will strengthen the region's global economic connections and competitiveness.

San Diego is the only city in California selected for this pilot program and is one of only two cities in the program for which Brookings will be developing and publishing the complete FDI plan.

Here’s what some people are saying about the announcement:

  • City of San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer said: “San Diego’s strong ties to international markets, high-growth industries and culture of innovation mean we have the necessary ingredients to attract foreign direct investment to the region. I am honored Brookings selected San Diego for this pilot program and I look forward to working with the core team  to show that San Diego is open for business.”
     
  • Councilman Mark Kersey, fifth district, City of San Diego said: “San Diego is becoming start-up central and small-medium enterprises will benefit from a regional strategy for attracting foreign direct investment. I’d like to see more companies born global, attracting international investment and competing in worldwide markets.”
     
  • William Bold, senior vice president of government affairs of Qualcomm said:  “The highly educated work force, technology clusters, and location of San Diego already make it a thriving hub of the globalized economy. The Global Cities Initiative will only strengthen San Diego’s attractiveness to foreign investors looking for a solid innovation and high-technology track record. We’re delighted to help with an effort to share with the rest of the world the trade, talent and financial potential to be found here.”
     
  • Brennon Crist, JPMorgan Chase market manager for Middle Market/Commercial Banking in San Diego said: “We’re delighted that  San Diego will be a part of this new pilot – it’s exactly the kind of innovative planning that will ensure our community’s long-term economic success. We have a history of helping businesses connect to global markets and the Global Cities Initiative’s foreign direct investment work brings another level of depth to our region’s efforts to further create jobs, attract capital and grow our economy.”
     
  • Brad McDearman, Brookings fellow and director of metro trade and investment said: “For this pilot, we selected metro areas that are committed to attracting and leveraging foreign direct investment as part of a comprehensive global trade and investment strategy. The six metro areas selected for this round will be strong role models for other regions and represent a growing group of leaders who understand the need to embrace the global market to remain competitive in the 21st century economy.”
     
  •  Joe Panetta, president and CEO of Biocom said: “The region’s global mindset is apparent when you look at the thriving life sciences industry. Companies have long looked to San Diego for its world-class talent pool and abundant research opportunities. San Diego’s new collaboration with Brookings not only means that the region has opportunities to create more jobs, but also that we will be looked at as a role model for other areas looking to embrace the global economy.”

 

 

April 8, 2014
 
San Diego is not Silicon Valley...and that's a good thing. Yes, the weather here is nicer, but that's not the only reason people come here. They come for access to resources, lower cost of living compared to other startup hubs, and of course, talent. Like many other tech founders, Stephan Goss, CEO of Zeeto Media and Jeff Brice, CEO of TrustEgg believe this so much, that they decided to locate their companies here. 
 
There is always room for improvement, but as San Diego's startup community continues to grow, so does the momentum we see to better the region. Take a look at the piece they wrote below for The Daily Transcript.
 
 

Why we chose San Diego over Silicon Valley (appeared in The Daily Transcript on April 7) by StephanGoss and Jeff Brice
It is conventional wisdom that if you want to launch a startup, Silicon Valley is the place to be. The funding, talent and resources are available in spades there. So people have flocked there hoping to become the next Facebook or Google, and some have succeeded.
 
We made a different choice. For us, San Diego was a smarter choice to launch our two businesses, Zeeto Media, an online media company, and TrustEgg, a simple venue to start online trust accounts for kids. The weather was certainly a seductive draw. It’s hard to ignore the climate and laid-back lifestyle of this Southern California city, but that is not why we are here. 
 
Read more in the Daily Transcript....

#GoSanDiego