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Big Picture San Diego Blog

May 8, 2015

Recently, EDC released its March Manpower Monthly Employment Report. Since then, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has released March employment data on all U.S. metros, which allows us to analyze some key indicators across geographies. Click on images to enlarge in a new window/tab.


  • At 5.1 percent, San Diego’s unemployment rate ranked 11th among the 25 most populous U.S. metros.
  • From March 2014 to March 2015, San Diego's unemployment rate fell by -2.0 percentage points, which ranked 3rd.
  • San Diego's total employment grew by 3.1 percent from March 2014 to March 2015, which ranked 10th.
  • San Diego's employment in professional, scientific and technical services (PST) grew by 7.2 percentwhich ranked 3rd.
  • Manufacturing in San Diego grew by 1.5 percent from the previous year, the 9th highest growth rate.

[Unmployment Chart]

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently released employment data for the March 2015 period for all U.S. metro areas. At 5.1 percent, San Diego County’s unemployment rate fell by 2.0 points from this time last year. This was the 3rd largest drop in the nation, among the 25 most populous U.S. metros. That fall brought San Diego's rank to 11th among major U.S. metros and placed it below the U.S. overall rate of 5.6 percent.  

[Employment Chart]

When looking at employment growth, San Diego was above the national average. From March 2014 to March 2015, the region's employment grew by 3.1 percent, which ranked 10th among the 25 most populous U.S. metros. The U.S. average growth rate was at only 2.3 percent. San Diego has consistently outpaced U.S. employment growth this year and has been among the top 10 competitive metros in the nation.

[PST Chart]

San Diego's innovation economy is largely driving the region's growth. The region is outpacing nearly all other major metros in professional, scientific and technical services (PST) growth. PST is a sector of the economy very heavily associated with the region's innovation clusters. Much of the companies and employment in clusters like biotechnology, biomedical products, cleantech and information technology fall within the PST sector. Employment in the region's PST sector grew by 7.2 percent since last March, the 3rd most out of any metro studied here. This figure was roughly double the U.S. average and only behind California peers San Francisco and Riverside, which is a positive sign for the state and region's key traded clusters.

[MFG Chart]

San Diego's manufacturing sector growth has slowed in recent months. Manufacturing is another key industry for growth in the region, not only because manufacturing jobs are accessible and pay well, but also because certain manufacturing subsectors are critical to the region's innovation clusters. From March 2014 to March 2015, manufacturing employment grew by only 1.5 percent. San Diego's manufacturing employment growth was just below the U.S. rate of 1.6 percent. The region recorded the 9th highest growth rate among major U.S. metros. Clearly, manufacturing has slowed in most major metros across the U.S. outside of Detroit, Denver and Portland, so this is not a sign unique to San Diego. However, it will remain important to track manufacturing in the coming months to see if growth accelerates.

While overall employment growth and growth in our manufacturing sector weren't comparatively stellar, the region's economy is still generally tracking well above the U.S. average and many of its peers. Unemployment is lower than average and experienced one of the largest annual drops in the nation. Meanwhile, our PST industry continues to be among the fastest growing in the nation.

EDC will be releasing the Manpower Employment Report with April 2015 data for San Diego on Friday, May 15thThank you to Manpower-SD for their ongoing support of EDC's employment trends research.

May 7, 2015

Ebsta Offices in London

App integrator Ebsta knows a thing or two about building relationships; it’s what they do. Much like its CRM technologies enable businesses to take a holistic, multi-faceted look at their customer base,  Ebsta has made a concerted decision to choose San Diego over other regions such as Silicon Valley for a myriad of reasons. Headquartered in London, Ebsta commands a presence of more than 30,000 users and over 7,000 companies drive Salesforce adoption with its products, including Amazon, Evernote, and Lenovo.

While in London this past week, members from the San Diego delegation visited with Ebsta, and many other companies with strong San Diego ties, in order to learn about how San Diego can support its international success. The demand for its product is growing fast, and as Ebsta looks to add to its 15 person team, they have made it clear that they are looking to do so stateside – potentially running the entire commercial business out of San Diego.

So why did Ebsta choose San Diego to expand its operations in the first place? The answer involves more than just sunshine. “Smart startups are always ahead of the curve. San Diego is where it’s going to happen next,” said Bernhard Peters, vice president of sales, who moved from London to start the San Diego office. “Not only is the talent pool here immense, but we felt that in San Diego, we would be more than just a number.”

Beyond the region’s depth of talent resources, British Airways’ direct flight to London has allowed Ebsta to seamlessly run operations on two separate continents.  Additionally, while many companies would view the time difference as an operational red flag, particularly for a small company, Peters doesn’t quite see it that way.

England based companies jobsThe SMEs that thrive are the ones that adopt a global mindset. Not only do our two locations allow us to increase our operational hours, but they give us increased market entry points and access to potential capital,said Peters.

Ebsta’s investment in San Diego provides a prevailing example of how foreign direct investment (FDI) can benefit cities and regions. These companies invest more in innovation, making them a magnet for capital. While FDI is responsible for 5 percent of employment in the San Diego region, it accounts for nearly 19 percent  of corporate R&D and 15 percent of capital investment.  

As the second largest investors in San Diego, London plays a key role in our region’s long-term economic strategy.  London-based companies and investments are responsible for more than 5,900 jobs in our region. Along with Ebsta, some other London-based companies with operations in San Diego include BAE Systems, Cobham, GlaxoSmithKline and Mirum.

Despite the pressure on new tech startups to invest in legacy tech hubs, Ebsta knows the proof is in the pudding; San Diego offers an innovative, vibrant atmosphere that few other places can match.

It’s safe to say, our investment in San Diego is paying off.

May 7, 2015

Herb Klein Civic Leadership Award

San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation is pleased to announce Gary and Mary West as the 2015 Honorees of the Herb Klein Civic Leadership Award. EDC honors individuals who have demonstrated outstanding leadership in addressing challenges and making significant contributions to improving San Diego.

2015 Honorees Gary and Mary West

Gary and Mary West are two of the most generous philanthropists and entrepreneurs in our region. The Wests have called San Diego their home since 2006 and have created and funded some of the most innovative charitable causes in our community. Gary and Mary’s greatest passions are improving care for our nation’s seniors and transforming healthcare delivery for all Americans, and they have committed tremendous resources to those causes locally.

In 2006, they established the Gary and Mary West Foundation, the second largest private foundation in San Diego. Through their philanthropy, the Wests have had a positive impact on disadvantaged seniors through organizations like Serving Seniors and their flagship Gary and Mary West Senior Wellness Center, which is now hailed as an international model for successful aging. The new facility brings more than 20 non-profit organizations under one roof to provide critical social services to nearly 600 seniors a day in Downtown San Diego. Gary and Mary also actively support organizations such as Meals-on-Wheels Greater San Diego, Legal Aid Society of San Diego, Canine Companions for Independence, the Challenge Center, the San Diego Public Library Foundation, Paws’itive Teams, Access to Independence and the San Diego Police Foundation.

Their dedication to lowering the cost of healthcare led to the 2009 formation of what is now known as the West Health Institute. It’s an independent, nonprofit medical research organization pioneering new and smarter technologies, policies and practices to make high-quality healthcare more affordable.  Knowing technology alone could not address the spending crisis in healthcare, they launched the non-partisan, Washington, D.C.-based West Health Policy Center in 2012 to help shape federal policy and regulations.

Gary and Mary’s most recent effort to reimagine healthcare delivery resulted in the Foundation launching the Center for Medical Interoperability, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving communications in our nation’s hospitals and healthcare systems for better safety, quality and affordability.

Throughout their careers, Gary and Mary have been dedicated to providing good jobs so that others may live the American Dream, and we are incredibly fortunate they have chosen to bring their entrepreneurial spirit and generous philanthropy to our region.

Please join us on June 4, 2015 as we celebrate Gary and Mary West and their extraordinary contributions to San Diego.

The 2015 Herb Klein Civic Leadership award is generously sponsored by:

May 1, 2015

In an effort to further the region’s global competitiveness, a delegation of San Diego business leaders will be heading to London next week to increase existing synergies between one of San Diego’s most important international partners.  Building on existing relationships, the delegation will host the London premiere of National Geographic’s “World’s Smart Cities: San Diego” documentary, meet with key companies with San Diego ties, and promote opportunities in industries that matter most to San Diego’s competitiveness such as life sciences and connected health.

The San Diego – London ties run deep. Findings from the Go Global San Diego Initiative, released in March 2015, confirmed just how intertwined the two regions' economies are.  Collectively, the U.K. accounts form 25 percent of all foreign employment, or 12,340 jobs in San Diego. Some of these major London-based companies with San Diego ties include BAE Systems, Cobham, GlaxoSmithKline and Mirum. San Diego is also home to Cubic, a transportation innovator that powers London’s OysterCard system.

Key agenda highlights from the mission include a UC Alumni Event Showcase, where UC San Diego Dean Al Pisano will lead a discussion with UC alumni working and living in London to activate stronger ties in the life sciences, telecommunications, cybersecurity and software engineering sectors. The delegation will participate on a joint panel about driving down the cost of healthcare (arranged by Biocom and its UK counterpart, OneNucleus) and visit “The Catapult,” London’s urban innovation lab that aims to strengthen quality of life, economies and the environment in cities around the globe. While overseas, the delegation will also meet with key partners and companies including the U.S. Embassy in London, British Airways, BAE and Ebsta.

The trip builds off exciting exchanges between the two regions. London is the first international city to join the Global Cities Initiative (GCI), a joint project between the Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase, which works to help leaders reorient their economies towards greater engagement in world markets. San Diego has been a member of the GCI since Fall 2012. This affiliation has incubated a strong relationship with London + Partners, the economic development arm of the city of London. In February, Mayor Faulconer joined London Mayor Boris Johnson at the Brookings Institution  in D.C. to discuss how these two regions can strengthen their global connections.

The delegation includes:

  • Al Pisano, Dean, Jacobs School of Engineering, UC San Diego
  • Andrew Lee, President & CEO, ESET
  • Diane Law, Parachute Marketing
  • George Guerra, Vice President, HALE Enterprise Strategic Ventures, Northrop Grumman
  • Hampton Brown, Director, Air Service Development, San Diego County Regional Airport Authority
  • Iris Magid, Director of Industry Engagement and University Relations, UC San Diego
  • Jennifer Landress, Senior Vice President & COO, Biocom
  • Joe Terzi, President & CEO, San Diego Tourism Authority
  • Joe Timko, Director of Public Relations, San Diego Tourism Authority
  • Julian Parra, Senior Vice President & Market Executive, Global Commercial Banking, Bank of America Merrill Lynch
  • Kerri Kapich, Senior Vice President of Marketing, San Diego Tourism Authority
  • Lauree Sahba, COO, San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation
  • Neva Parker, Head of Laboratory Operations, WhiteLabs
  • Phil Blair, President & CEO, Manpower San Diego & Chair, San Diego Convention Center
  • Robert Brownlie, Managing Partner, DLA Piper & Vice President, UC San Diego Alumni Board of Directors
  • Robert Gleason, Chairman of the Board, San Diego County Regional Airport Authority
  • The Honorable Scott Peters, Congressman (CA 52)
  • Sean Barr, Vice President, San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation
  • Shelley Lyford, COO, West Health Institute & President, Gary & Mary West Foundation
  • Thella Bowens, President & CEO, San Diego County Regional Airport Authority
  • Vince Mudd, Chair, San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation
  • William Burfitt, Executive Director of Development, UC San Diego

If you’re a company that wants to increase its engagement with foreign markets – such as London – apply for the MetroConnect prize. Thanks to the generosity of JPMorgan Chase, EDC is providing select San Diego-based companies with up to $10,000 in matching funds to help with each company’s next steps in going global. The deadline is Monday at noon.  

Follow the conversation at

April 24, 2015

While San Diego is known to the rest of the world as “America’s Finest City,” it also happens to be one of the world’s smartest cities.

At least that’s the way the National Geographic Channel sees it. San Diego is featured in Nat Geo’s “World’s Smart Cities” documentary, a one-hour documentary special uncovering what makes this unique city one of the most innovative, forward thinking cities across the globe. The documentary begins airing tomorrow on the Nat Geo Channel at 8 a.m.

In anticipation of tomorrow’s public premiere, we’ve pulled together 9 reasons Nat Geo calls us a Smart City.

Here it goes:

  1. We don’t just drink beer, we make it too.

    Home to nearly 100 craft breweries, San Diego is serious about suds. But it’s not just about drinking it; it’s also about brewing it. In the documentary, you’ll meet Neva Parker, director of laboratory operations at White Labs, who talks about cultivating brewer’s yeast, a key ingredient in the brewing process.
  1. Our grid is smart.

    Today, 32 percent of San Diego’s electricity is renewable, and there is no coal in SDG&E’s energy portfolio. Jim Avery of Sempra Energy discusses the Smart Grid which increases the use of renewable energy and helps manage the region’s power.
  1. Our port makes us a  “plug-in.”

    Speaking of clean energy, the Port has fully switched to a shore-power system that improves air quality and reduces greenhouse gas emissions by allowing cargo vessels to "plug in" rather than run their diesel engines while in port.  You can catch some sweeping views of the 10th Avenue Marine Terminal in the documentary.
  1. We cultivate the innovators of the future.

    Most San Diegans know the story of Qualcomm, the region’s largest private-sector employer, but what many people in San Diego (and across the world) don’t know is about their focus on cultivating future leaders. In the documentary, Host Andrew Evans visits Qualcomm® Thinkabit Lab™, equal parts innovation lab and art studio, that provides students from all cultural and socio-economic backgrounds in San Diego with access to hands-on experiences in engineering. They are ensuring San Diego remains a “smart city” for generations to come.
  1. We’re home to one of the smartest universities in the world…and they just created the world’s first algae-based surfboard.

    UC San Diego campus is one of the top 15 research universities in the world and is an innovator nationally in solar and other renewable technologies. At the California Center for Algae Biotechnology, which host Andrew Evans visits, UC San Diego researcher Stephen Mayfield is turning pond scum into fuel for the next generation of transportation. He also turned this pond scum into the world’s first algae-based surfboard, which he showed off at the San Diego premiere Tuesday evening.
  1. Innovation is in our DNA.

    When it comes to the field of genomics, San Diego is second to none. Evans pays a visit to Illumina, the first company that cracked the $1,000 genome challenge, to get his DNA mapped by Chief Medical Officer Rick Klausner. Illumina was called the “World’s Smartest Company” ahead of Samsung, Google and Tesla by MIT Technology Review. It’s no coincidence the “World’s Smartest company” is headquartered in one of the “World’s Smart Cities.”
  1. We make the things that go where no man can go.

    From the frozen Arctic to the coast of Africa, the Northrop Grumman-built NASA Global Hawk has flown all over the globe conducting unprecedented scientific and environmental missions. Evans explores San Diego’s dynamic aerospace industry through the eyes of Northrop Grumman, where he has the opportunity to meet with George Guerra, an unmanned aircraft expert.
  1. Lifesaving innovations are applied to multiple fields.

    SeaWorld is more than just a theme park operator – they’re also an innovator. In the documentary, we meet Todd Schmitt, senior veterinarian at SeaWorld, who discusses SeaWorld’s Zoological Stem Cell Bank Initiative which contributes to the scientific advancement of stem cell use in marine species and has the potential to replace drugs in the treatment of many chronic diseases, especially in older animals.
  1. Our people care.

    San Diego resident Rob Machado is a surfing hall of famer and legend. Yet rather than focusing on his sport and why it’s important to the culture of San Diego, he chose to focus on the volunteer work that he and others are doing through the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) to help children with disabilities learn to surf, develop confidence in themselves and connect with the ocean and nature.

It’s easy to see that San Diego is more than just the beach. Make sure not to miss out on the full picture, see why we’re one of the “World’s Smart Cities.” The program will air Saturday, April 25, 8-9 a.m., and Saturday, May 2, 8-9 a.m., on the National Geographic Channel.

April 22, 2015

Perhaps nothing encapsulates San Diego’s mix of innovation and lifestyle more than the surfboard pictured below. Let us explain…

Although it looks like any other surfboard, it’s actually made from algae, instead of petroleum-based polyurethane which is typically found in surfboards. We have Stephen Mayfield, a scientist from UC San Diego and director of the California Center for Algae Biotechnology, to thank for that. Like quite a few San Diegans, he can call himself both a scientist and a surfer.

Mayfield is featured in “National Geographic Channel’s: World’s Smart Cities” documentary about San Diego, which premiered last night at San Diego Symphony Hall.  Following the documentary, Mayfield presented the world’s first algae-based surfboard to Mayor Kevin Faulconer. Surfing legend and San Diego local Rob Machado, who also appeared in the documentary, was on hand to help present the surfboard. In the documentary, Mayfield talks about industry/academic collaborations that are helping to make biofuels from algae a commercially viable transportation fuel in the future. 

The documentary follows San Diego’s innovation narrative as National Geographic host and Digital Nomad Andrew Evans gets his genome sequenced at Illumina, performs stem cell surgery on a penguin at SeaWorld, flies UAVS at Northrop Grumman, learns about the Smart Grid at SDG&E, checks out the Qualcomm® Thinkabit Lab™,  part engineering lab and part art studio – all while enjoying the sites, culture and lifestyle that San Diego is known for.

Last night, Andrew Evans made the trek back to San Diego to join Mayor Kevin Faulconer, San Diego Tourism Authority’s Joe Terzi, EDC’s Mark Cafferty and a packed house of San Diegans to show people why San Diego is the only city in North America chosen for the documentary.

"San Diego is a neat city. There's no place like it in the world," said Evans at the premiere.  

The documentary will be shown in more than 60 countries, reaching approximately 250 million households world-wide.  Make sure to tune in (or record) the documentary, which begins airing this Saturday, on the National Geographic Channel.

Spread the word. It’s time the world learns what San Diego is really about.

Follow the conversation at #Smartcities.

April 21, 2015

National Geographic Channel features San Diego, one of only four cities in the world and the only U.S. city on the list, in its acclaimed documentary series “World’s Smart Cities”. San Diego was chosen for its strong technology sector, local innovators, green practices, smart public planning and an unparalleled quality of life. Other selection factors included San Diego’s size of population, demographics/cultural diversity, livability, economy and business climate, educational institutions, leadership and strong sense of community.

The documentary will be shown in over 60 countries reaching approximately 250 million households world-wide.

Watch the trailer...

Watch the premiere on:

National Geographic Channel



Current Show Schedule (based on country feed)

Country Date Air Time
United States April 25, 2015 8:00 AM (All Time Zones)
  May 2, 2015 9:00 AM (Check your local listings- may vary by time zones)
Australia May 7, 2015 18:30
  May 10, 2015 12:00
  May 12, 2015 10:30
  May 15, 2015 14:30
  May 19, 2015 8:30
Brazil May 8, 2015 19:00
  May 9, 2015 15:00
  May 17, 2015 13:00
  May 23, 2015 18:30
  May 25, 2015 15:00
China May 22, 2015 TBD
France May 9, 2015 18:30
  May 11, 2015 23:55
  May 14, 2015 8:40
  May 17, 2015 12:50
  May 23, 2015 10:20
Germany May 5, 2015 23:55
  May 6, 2015 10:05
  May 8, 2015 9:15
  May 9, 2015 14:25
  May 10, 2015 8:25
  May 11, 2015 13:45
  May 13, 2015 9:15
  May 14, 2015 8:25
Italy May 4, 2015 17:00
  May 8, 2015 18:00
  May 9, 2015 10:00
  May 11, 2015 12:00
  May 16, 2015 10:00
Japan May 10, 2015 20:00
  May 15, 2015 16:00
  May 19, 2015 8:00
  May 20, 2015 15:00
  May 24, 2015 19:00
Korea May 6, 2015 19:00
  May 7, 2015 8:00
  May 9, 2015 11:15
  May 10, 2015 12:00
  May 13, 2015 10:00
Russia May 4, 2015 17:00
  May 8, 2015 11:25
  May 9, 2015 18:00
  May 10, 2015 8:50
  May 11, 2015 11:25
Spain May 5, 2015 18:10
  May 10, 2015 9:30
  May 16, 2015 11:15
  May 20, 2015 18:10
  May 24, 2015 10:20
United Kingdom May 8, 2015 17:00
  May 9, 2015 8:00
  May 10, 2015 9:00
  May 10, 2015 0:00
  May 11, 2015 8:00


The documentary features leading companies and institutions that are based in San Diego and provide world-class research, education, and innovative technologies. We thank them for their participation and support of this project.


April 21, 2015

iboss Cybersecurity is a leading provider of innovative APT defense, web security and mobile security solutions. It’s Cyber Week in Washington, DC and the RSA Conference — “where the world talks security” — opens today in San Francisco with a lot of San Diego companies, including iboss. With increasing cyber threats to both business and government,cybersecurity is ubiquitous in every industry.  

This week, we had the opportunity to sit down with Paul Martini, CEO at iboss Cybersecurity in San Diego, to learn more about the company’s relationship with the region, and what’s in store for the future.


1) Tell us about iboss Cybersecurity

iboss is on the cutting-edge of cybersecurity, protecting over four thousand organizations from evasive malware and data theft.  Founded in 2003, iboss was created to provide next-gen cybersecurity for today’s complex network environments. Unlike legacy technology, we saw an opportunity to address emerging technology phenomena including mobile connectivity, cloud adoption, increasing bandwidth demands as well as the growing use of non-standard and often hidden Web ports for data stealing attacks.  With the release of FireSphere in 2014 iboss has introduced lean forward patented technology designed to close the critical gap between malware infection and detection, and contain data theft before malware can complete its mission.

We’re very proud of the fact that our technology is consistently cited by customers as being easy to use and supported by world class technical support that has delivered an industry-leading customer retention rate of over 98.5% for the last two years.


2) What are some advantages to being located in San Diego?

First, we consistently find prodigious talent in San Diego, including cybersecurity, engineering & software development experts.   Second, we have a many former UC San Diego (my alma mater) students working here, and we’re relocating our headquarters to be across the street from UCSD, which will make it even easier to access students and engage in collaborative research.  Lastly, one can’t forget the sometimes overlooked but significant benefit of being located in such a desirable travel destination, which always adds value for a wide range of visitors, from industry analysts and partners to customers and potential prospects.


3) San Diego is full of dynamic companies, firms and service providers influencing global trends and innovation. Pick another San Diego company that is at the top of its game.

San Diego has always been known for defense and is of course a burgeoning hub for technology, cybersecurity and biotechnology.  We recently met with SPAWAR who is doing amazing things to keep our critical infrastructure and data safe.   There are many other great companies developing amazing technology and adding major value to customers and the region alike, including well-known enterprises such as Qualcomm, Solar Turbines, and CareFusion.


4) What do you anticipate for your company in five years? What do you anticipate for San Diego?
iboss is in a rapid growth phase and we look forward to meeting our goal of nearly doubling employees and overall revenue in 2015.  We’re also eager to move into our new location later this year, a 43,000 square foot facility off the I-5 in La Jolla, to house our worldwide headquarters and state of the art threat research center.   Our new facility is groundbreaking on construction in early April as part of a multi-million dollar renovation.  Once complete, it will house a cutting-edge threat research center, a technology incubator and engineering facilities. The building, which was previously home to SAIC worldwide data center, is primed to support iboss’ cloud infrastructure with multiple fiber drops, fully redundant power and suppression systems. The property will also feature an energy-efficient design, corporate fitness center, putting green, two-story slide and a technology incubator area.  iboss Cybersecurity has ambitious aspirations backed by innovative, patented technology.  Our goal is to be the next billion dollar Cybersecurity Enterprise in our region and we are putting the people and processes in place to achieve it.


April 17, 2015

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"San Diego's labor market has really hit its stride. The unemployment rate is at a seven year low and two full percentage points lower than a year ago. More than 30,000 people who were unemployed have found employment in the past year, and the labor force continues to grow. Job growth has been led by key middle-to-high-wage industries like construction, health care, education, manufacturing and scientific services. These are great signs as we move ahead in 2015."
Phil Blair, President and CEO
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.

The California Employment Development Department (EDD) released statewide county employment data today for the March 2015 period. This month’s data shows that unemployment was down again in March as the economy continued to grow at an increasingly solid pace.

The unemployment rate is likely the big story again this month since at 5.1 percent, it is the lowest it has been in nearly seven years (April 2008). This is 2.0 points lower than the previous year and 0.2 points lower than the previous month. San Diego’s unemployment rate remained below the U.S. average of 5.6 percent and well-below the California average of 6.5 percent. The region also experienced labor force growth. More than 3,000 people were added to the region's labor force from March 2014 to March 2015, indicating that the continued drop in unemployment is likely due to a healthy economy rather than a dwindling labor force.

[Unemployment Chart]

When looking at monthly or seasonal employment, San Diego County employers added 8,000 jobs from February to March. Construction accounted for a quarter of this monthly growth, adding 1,500 jobs from February to March. Tourism , health care and private education industries also experienced high seasonal growth, while retail and wholesale trade experienced slight seasonal declines.

From a year-to-year or non-seasonal perspective, the region’s economy is showing signs of picking up the pace. Total non-farm employment grew by 40,900 jobs from March 2014 to March 2015­—a 3.1 percent growth rate. This exceeds the U.S. growth rate of 2.3 percent. In all three months to date in 2015, the region recorded annual job growth of more than three percent, compared to 2014 when not a single month exceeded three percent annual growth.

[Employment Chart]

The private sector economy accounted for 92 percent of the year-to-year job growth and grew by 3.4 percent. This rate also outpaced the U.S. growth rate, which was 2.7 percent over that same period. This job growth continued to be fueled by key sectors. Construction jobs grew by 7.4 percent and added 4,600 jobs. One of the region’s key manufacturing sectors ship and boat building grew by 18.7 percent and added 1,100 jobs. 

Innovation service sectors also continued to show high job growth. The professional, scientific and technical services (PST) sector grew by 7.2 percent year-to-year, and accounted for approximately a quarter of the job growth. This sector represents many of our innovation employers. More specifically, scientific research and development services, a subsector of PST that represents many cleantech and life science companies, grew by 8.4 percent since last March.

[PST Chart]

The region’s tourism continued to show high year-to-year growth as well. The leisure and hospitality industry added 7,300 jobs over that period, which is about 4.3 percent growth. Food service and drinking places accounted for 7,000 of those jobs. Private and public education services experienced high seasonal and non-seasonal growth. Education services added 1,400 year-to-year jobs (4.5 percent growth) while state and local government education added 2,500 year-to-year jobs (3.0 percent growth).

The March labor market report was all around positive. Low unemployment, high job growth and a growing labor force are all excellent signs of burgeoning regional economy. More importantly, this growth continues to be driven by key sectors to the region's economy. Continued rapid growth in construction indicates that regional builders are constructing important infrastructure to address a growing economy. Furthermore, the region's key high-wage and innovative sectors are driving private sector growth. The region is far outpacing the state and nation in these important metrics, all good signs for the year ahead.

[Growth Chart]

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.

April 16, 2015

This post is part of an ongoing series dedicated to EDC’s 50th Anniversary. Please follow along at #EDCTurns50.

Along came the 1970s. Former Mayor Frank Curran and EDC's first CEO Dallas Clark saw their vision of a diversified San Diego economy come to fruition under the aegis of then CEO Richard "Dick" Davis.

San Diego (and EDC) were in good hands, as Malin Burnham stepped up to chair EDC in 1972 and Pete Wilson took over as Mayor.

We combed through the archives- here are a few of our favorite below:

Our innovation economy was beginning to take shape
New business is flowing to the region. From Sony, to the Wickes Corporation to Beckman Instruments, San Diego was booming in many industries, including the emerging field of “health sciences electronics.” We now know this industry as medical devices.

(Correctly) Predicting our future
At the same time, UC San Diego was beginning to establish itself as the research based institute that it is today. In 1971, National Science Foundation Director William McElroy became chancellor of UC San Diego, attracting world-class faculty. An article in the San Diego Union  from 1974 asks UC San Diego researchers to predict what San Diego would be like in the year 2000. Professor William Neirenberg got it right, “between 1974 and the year 2000, San Diego will become one of the top three or four research and development areas in the world…

Shipbuilding diversifies to include oil tankers and ferries

Kearny Mesa booms along Convoy St.

The close of the decade saw the birth of two iconic downtown San Diego landmarks: our beloved Convention Center and the idyllic Seaport Village.
From an edc newsletter

Telling the world our story
As the economy diversified, EDC began to share San Diego’s story with the world.

An advertisement in Businessweek (late 1970s- early 1980s)

Advertisement, unknown publication, 1976

We’ll be celebrating all through 2015, but we’ll be paying homage to our past – as well as celebrating our future – at EDC’s 50th annual dinner event on June 4, 2015, at SeaWorld San Diego.  Until then, join us here online every month as recount our top moments, starting with the decades that have defined us.