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The Big Picture San Diego Blog


Monthly Employment Data Release: May 2014

June 20, 2014

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

[Unemployment Chart]

The California Employment Development Department (EDD) released statewide county employment data today for the May 2014 period. San Diego's unemployment rate continued to decline from April to May, with the rate now down to 5.8 percent, the lowest it has been since May 2008. Unlike the major decline in April (read the full report here), the decline in May came without a drop in the region's labor force. From April to May, 3,000 joined San Diego's labor force, while the region experience a 3,800 person drop in civilian unemployment. Where last month's unemployment rate free fall was somewhat alarming, this month's decline appears to be a good sign for the economy. The region's unemployment rate is now below the national rate and remains well below the California rate.

The region added 5,100 jobs from April to May, 4,800 of which were in the private sector, which is another healthy sign for steady economic growth. Potentially more noteworthy, the region's economy added 29,300 jobs from May 2013 to May 2014, a 2.2 percent increase. The region's private sector grew by 2.5 percent from May 2013 to May 2014, a number roughly in the middle of expectations of the region's leading economists. As of May 2014, the region had 1,342,700 non-farm jobs, more than 82 percent of which were in the private sector.

[Construction Chart]

San Diego's goods producing industries continued their steady employment growth. Construction was up more than 1.5 percent from April to May, adding 1,000 jobs to the region. From May 2013 to May 2014, the construction industry has added 5,100 jobs, an 8.5 percent increase. Manufacturing growth has been a bit slower, but still steadily increasing, which is a great sign for the industry. From April to May, the manufacturing industry added 100 jobs. The industry added 1,700 jobs from May 2013 to May 2014.

As the region ramps up for summer tourism and convention season, the leisure and hospitality industry led most of the growth from April to May, adding 3,900 jobs to the economy, as expected. The industry was also up 3.7 percent from May 2013. Most of this month's growth came from the region's food services and drinking places. Health care and social assistance was the only other significant job creating industry from April to May, adding 1,000 jobs over the month period. 

[PST Chart]

The professional, scientific and technical services sector dropped by 700 jobs from April to May, but these monthly ebbs and flows are common in the industry, and we expect the industry to grow in the near future. From May 2013 to May 2014, the sector added 5,800 jobs, a 4.7 percent increase, which is among the highest growth sectors in San Diego over that period. Other significant growth sectors over the annual period include scientific research and development services sector and the region's retail and wholesale trade sectors. The former added 1,400 jobs while the latter combined to add 3,500 jobs.

While this month's job growth was led by only a few sectors, it's important to note that most key industries have grown steadily from the previous year. Additionally, the sectors that drove the employment growth this month are either from our traded economies, like tourism, or are leading indicators for strong economic growth, like construction and manufacturing. It is also positive to see the region's unemployment rate continue to fall while adding people to the labor force.

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.