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The Big Picture San Diego Blog


January 2016

January 28, 2016

By Sean Barr, senior vice president of economic development

Greetings from Tokyo, Japan. This week, behind a newly relaunched World Trade Center San Diego, EDC kicks off its 2016 international program. Our goals are clear – grow exports and position the region as a choice location for investment and science and technology partnerships.  

I am here in Tokyo the next few days with the Jacobs School of Engineering at UC San Diego. From day one, we were met with great enthusiasm for expanded partnerships with the University of Tokyo, University of Osaka, and private industry leaders such as Mitsui, Honda and the Japan Venture Capital Association, to name a few.

Japan represents San Diego's largest trade and investment market, making the relationship key to our economic growth. Tokyo alone accounts for nearly 25 percent of all foreign owned establishments in the region. With operations in San Diego, Japanese companies such as Kyocera International, Sony, Ajinomoto, and Takeda are some of the most active and community-minded companies, employing hundreds of San Diegans. Japan leads the way as an export market, consistently ranking among the top five most important markets for San Diego. From water technology, to microelectronics, to tourism, to telecommunications to renewable energy and craft beer, Japan punches way above its weight in the consumption of San Diego products and services. 

The relationship, however, is not one-sided. A number of organizations in San Diego have long recognized the importance of Japan to our economy, with some committing to a fulltime presence abroad, including Biocom, the San Diego Tourism Authority, the San Diego International Airport, the Port of San Diego, SDSU and of course, UC San Diego. We are looking to build on, amplify and support their work to advance the region's trade interests. 

Leading with our universities and science and engineering talent, San Diego is successfully attracting attention to our global innovation economy. In partnership with Al Pisano, Dean of the Jacobs School of Engineering at UC San Diego, EDC co-hosted a symposium this week for more than 30 Japanese investors. As investors traveled from Osaka, Kyoto, and throughout Tokyo to attend, it was evident that San Diego’s technology and engineering prowess has garnered global attention, with many inquiring about the region’s business climate and international presence.

 

The global outreach continues next week, through the end of April, and beyond. Next stop: Tokyo (return visit), Nagoya, Osaka, Auckland, Sydney, London, Toulon and Stockholm. We will certainly keep you updated from the road. 

 

January 22, 2016

Phil Blair

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“San Diego’s labor market experienced a very positive year in 2015, despite a slower than usual December. The region added tens of thousands of jobs since the previous year, primarily in high-wage and productive industries. This drove thousands of people back to the labor force and resulted in 20,000 fewer unemployed.”
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 December 2015 period. This month’s data allows for a complete picture for year 2015, and shows that San Diego’s economy grew at an accelerated pace in 2015 compared to recent years.

The unemployment rate closed the year at 4.7 percent in December, the lowest since June 2007. The rate is down 0.1 points from the previous month and 0.8 points from the previous year. The San Diego rate remained much lower than the statewide unemployment rate of 5.8 percent. When averaged over the entire year, the unemployment rate closed at 5.0 percent for 2015, down substantially from the 2014 average of 6.4 percent. The 2015 annual average is the lowest since the recession. Meanwhile, the annual average labor force was up 17,700 from 2014, while unemployment claims were down 20,300, which indicates a healthy rate drop.

Unemployment Rate

The region’s year-over-year employment for December grew below the 2015 average. San Diego’s total non-farm employment grew by 37,500 jobs from December 2014 to December 2015—2.7 percent growth. San Diego’s growth rate was again much higher than the 1.9 percent national rate. In total, the San Diego region averaged 3.1 percent annual growth in 2015, compared to only 2.3 percent in 2014. This was the highest annual percent growth rate since 2000, as the region added 41,400, the most jobs added since 1999.

The private sector drove employment growth in 2015, as private employment accounted for 91.7 percent of all employment growth over the year. The total private sector grew by 3.4 percent on average in 2015, out-pacing the private U.S. growth rate of 2.1 percent.

Total Nonfarm Employment

Private growth was driven largely by service providers, but goods producers experienced a particularly strong year. Manufacturers and construction companies drove 15.9 percent of private job growth in 2015, and finished the year strong. The two industries added a combined 6,000 jobs in 2015, the most since 2004. The manufacturing industry in particular added the most jobs and experienced the highest annual percent growth rate since 1998. The boom in the construction market is likely a response to demand pressures in the commercial and residential real estate markets, as quality space is becoming increasingly scarce, according to CBRE MarketView reports. The growth in manufacturing and wholesale trade are putting pressure on the industrial market in particular, as the industrial vacancy rate in Q4 2015 was at the lowest ever recorded.

YoY

Professional, scientific, and technical (PST) services, which is strongly associated with the region’s innovation economy, grew by 6.6 percent in 2015, which was the highest growth rate among major industries in the region (tied with construction). The 2015 growth rate was the highest posted since 2005 in the industry. PST services accounted for more than one fifth of all private annual job growth in San Diego. Comparatively, the national PST sector grew by only 3.6 percent in 2015. Scientific research and development services, a subsector of PST that represents many cleantech and life science companies, grew by 5.2 percent.

Other key drivers for growth included the region’s healthcare sector, which added 7,000 jobs and accounted for roughly one fifth of the region’s private job growth in 2015. Tourism experienced another seasonal hit in December, but the annual average was strong. The industry added 6,500 jobs in 2015, a 3.7 percent growth rate. Growth slowed in the latter half of the year, particularly in food service and drinking places, which was driving higher growth earlier in 2015.

Contributions

With a full year of 2015 data on the books, it was a very positive year for San Diego’s economy. The national economy showed tepid growth throughout the year, while San Diego consistently looked much stronger than the country as a whole. Key industries like manufacturing, construction, health care, and PST services had impressive, and by some measures, record years. While concerns around decreases in federal spending for science and defense will likely thwart some expectations for 2016, other factors like the Department of Defense’s shifting focus toward cybersecurity and national trends toward manufacturing re-shoring could prove promising for San Diego. Given these trends, future outcomes remain largely uncertain, but San Diego’s economy appears well positioned for growth through 2016.

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.

This report was performed with assistance from the CBRE research team in San Diego. 

January 14, 2016

Talent is the cornerstone of today’s global economy. It drives corporate location decisions, encourages innovative urban planning and inspires entrepreneurship. In essence, talent is the key to economic growth. If regions – such as San Diego – want to get ahead, they must have the workforce to compete.

Today, San Diego Regional EDC released “Talent: Where San Diego Stands,” a comprehensive study that contextualizes San Diego’s standing in talent growth and retention with regard to highly-skilled engineering, science and tech talent in nine peer metros including Austin, Denver and San Francisco. By analyzing key factors for firms and site selectors and comparing key characteristics that attract talent, San Diego can better understand how to maintain its competitive edge.

 

Among peer metros, San Diego ranks…
2nd – percent growth of degree-holding millennials  (age 25-34)
1st – concentration of scientific R&D firms and employment
3rd– wages in sciences and engineering jobs
1st – lowest average commute times
2nd – average annual pay for R&D employees at $176,000
3rd – total number of scientific R&D firms

 

When looking for a place to start or continue a career, talent is demanding change. Infrastructure and creative office design are becoming critical requirements. Innovative workspaces, lifestyle, competitive wages and economic opportunity matter. 

 

 

Thank you to our study sponsors iboss Cybersecurity and Kilroy Realty Corp. with additional support provided by CBRE. 

January 5, 2016

This week we sat down with Seth Stein, president of workforce recruitment at Eastridge Workforce Solutions, to discuss how Eastridge is helping companies refine their talent recruitment processes. With Eastridge's Talent Acquisition Assessment, companies can see how their recruitment and technology practices stack up against their peers, providing insight on how to improve and refine current hiring processes.

For more on talent, attend EDC’s study release event to see how San Diego stacks up against its peer metropolitan cities in talent attraction and retention on Jan. 14. Register here.

1) Please tell us what Eastridge Workforce Solutions does.

Backed by over 40 years of experience, Eastridge Workforce Solutions makes attracting and managing a skilled workforce easier. We develop strategic workforce management programs, innovative technology platforms, and comprehensive staffing solutions customized for your organization. As the success of an organization relies on its talent, businesses partner with Eastridge to solve their workforce needs and stay ahead of the competition.

2) Identify current obstacles companies face in hiring.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics November 2015 report showed the unemployment rate declined to 4.8 percent, the lowest level in seven years. Across the country, niche positions are becoming increasingly difficult to fill as candidates receive numerous compelling offers.

In the recently published Consumer Price Index Report, consumer confidence in the economy is the highest rate in eight years. Candidates are feeling more confident than ever that they can find a position that offers competitive compensation and career growth. With multiple offers, candidates are demanding higher pay—even for entry-level positions.

As San Diego has shifted to a more candidate-driven market, employers have to quickly revise their hiring strategy. In order to secure top candidates, organizations must have a well-defined recruitment process to ensure consistent and repeatable performance through the hiring life cycle. This measures effectiveness and sets a baseline for ongoing expectations.

Organizations that do not have efficient hiring processes, like quick turnaround time from interviews to offers, are subject to losing top candidates to their competitors. To help HR professionals assess hiring challenges in today’s labor market, Eastridge Workforce Solutions developed a Talent Acquisition Assessment to gather data from companies nationwide and learn more about their recruitment performance.

3) How does the Talent Acquisition Assessment enable companies to refine their current hiring processes?

The Talent Acquisition Assessment allows companies to gauge their current recruitment and technology practices against their peers, helping reveal problem areas that exist in current hiring, communication and technology methods.

Organizations that are aware of any gaps that exist in current recruitment processes are better able to secure top candidates and stay ahead of the competition in today’s labor market. Companies that have leading edge recruitment technology and proven talent acquisition practices can source, interview, and hire top candidates quicker. Sticking to outdated methods creates gaps in talent acquisition performance.