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The Big Picture San Diego Blog

Big Picture San Diego Blog

December 19, 2014

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“I can’t overstate how impressive San Diego’s jobs numbers are this month. We’re far exceeding even optimistic expectations, and continue to lead the way. It’s been an exciting year for growth.”
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 November 2014 period, and much like the national report released two weeks ago, San Diego County experienced another month of outstanding job growth.

San Diego County employers added another 13,100 jobs in November, which makes it 60,800 jobs added so far in 2014. When looking at year-over-year growth, the region added 43,000 jobs, which is the most in 20 months. The annual job growth rate was 3.2 percent growth, which eclipsed the U.S. total employment growth rate of 2.0 percent over the same period.

[Total Chart]

San Diego County’s unemployment rate remained flat at 5.8 percent and fell by 1.2 points from this time last year. The unemployment rate in the region was 1.3 points below California’s 7.0 percent rate and tracked just above the U.S. average of 5.5 percent, which also remained flat. While the unemployment rate didn’t decline, it did remain flat amid 4,000 new labor force participants, indicating that job seekers are finding employment.

Job growth continued to be fueled by our private sector. San Diego County private businesses added 10,600 jobs in November and 40,500 since one year prior. Over the past year, private businesses have accounted for more than 94 percent of job growth in the region and grew by about 3.7 percent. This includes our goods producing industries which grew by more than 4.3 percent over that period—well above the national average.

[Unemployment Chart]

While goods producers have outpaced service providers in annual averages, service providers offset seasonal losses from goods producers in November. Most of this can be attributed to retail stores addressing holiday shopping needs while construction projects experience a seasonal slow down. Retail jobs alone accounted for more than 60 percent of private job growth last month, while construction and manufacturing businesses shed 1,700 jobs.

Despite the seasonal downturn, construction and manufacturing drove more than 16 percent of the region’s annual private job growth from November 2013 to November 2014. These industries added 6,800 jobs over the same period and outpaced total job growth. In particular, the ship and boat building sector grew by 13.6 percent over that period, which is a good sign for the region’s blue economy.


Other innovation sectors continued to show annual job growth. The professional, scientific and technical services (PST) sector grew by more than 6.7 percent and represents many of our innovation employers. National PST employment only grew by 3.2 percent over that period. More specifically, scientific research and development services, which represents many cleantech and life science companies, grew by 4.5 percent since last November.

The region’s other important growth sectors continued to grow above the regional average. The health care sector grew by 4.9 percent and is one of the region’s largest employers, representing 157,500 jobs. Another large and impactful industry, tourism, experienced 3.9 percent growth over that period. Finally, staffing services continued to grow rapidly—a good indicator of company growth.

[Growth Chart]

It remains clear that 2014 has been an outstanding year for job growth in the region. San Diego’s key traded industries led the way and the region is far ahead of the pace many anticipated at the outset of the year. The region continues to outperform the U.S. both in total employment and in key sectors, and job seekers continue to return to the economy and find jobs. It will be exciting to see how the region closes out the year when December figures are released next month.

See press release here.

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.

December 16, 2014


Most people have heard of AT&T. But what they don’t know is how closely they work with the community.  As one the nation’s largest wireless service providers, they are committed to connecting San Diego – and its non-profits, businesses, and residents – to other entities across the globe.
This week, we sat down with Ignacio De La Torre, regional VP, external affairs for AT&T, to learn more about how they view their relationship with San Diego.
1) Tell us about AT&T.
AT&T is a leading provider of wireless, Wi-Fi, high speed Internet, voice and cloud-based services.  AT&T has nearly 3,700 employees working in the San Diego and Imperial Counties region and has strong relationships with various community organizations including: Junior Achievement, Operation Homefront, United through Reading, Urban League of San Diego County, Imperial County Community Foundation, and Barrio Logan College Institute.  AT&T is committed to investing in San Diego.  For example, this past November, AT&T made a $300,000 contribution to Interfaith Community Services to support its Transitional Youth Academy, a program to improve academic and career outcomes for under-served youth.  AT&T also has two “Store of the Future” locations in San Diego County, which are focused on customers’ lifestyles and allow customers to interact with new technology products creating a fun, unique and interactive shopping experience.
2) What are some advantages to being located/doing business in San Diego? 
Why AT&T Chose San Diego San Diego continues to outpace the rest of the nation – and much of the world – when it comes to job creation and economic recovery.  In fact, a recent report by the University of San Diego found that San Diego County is on pace to add more than 30,000 jobs for the third straight year.  San Diego’s economic success is fueled in large part by the growth of the “knowledge-based” economy, its climate, and its geographic location enabling ease of trade and global commerce. Innovative high-tech and life science companies have found a home in San Diego, and world-class research universities and exciting startup businesses continue to shape our economic landscape. AT&T is a part of this economic growth and prosperity, and is excited to be a part of San Diego’s future.
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. 
Organizations such as CONNECT, EvoNexus, and CommNexus have changed the way that businesses are formed.  Through their collaborative approach in working with investors, inventors, industry and service providers, they offer incubator platforms for technology and life sciences start-ups, which has helped grow the San Diego economy.  Thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars have been realized as a result of their tremendous work.   
4) What do you anticipate for your company in five years? What do you anticipate for San Diego? 
In the past five years, the mobile Internet along with smart phones, applications and tablets have transformed our world in how we work, shop, communicate and socialize. AT&T will continue to lead this innovation and growth, and in the next five years, we expect to see all devices becoming more connected, more user-friendly and more intelligent.  In fact, by 2022, the average household with two teenage children will own roughly 50 Internet-connected devices, up from approximately 10 today, according to estimates by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. San Diego is ideally situated to be a leader in this new technology wave.  As a leader in technology advancement, San Diego will bring incredible economic opportunities for businesses and individuals alike.

December 10, 2014

Recently, EDC released its Manpower Monthly Employment Report. Since then, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has released October 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 5.8 percent, San Diego’s unemployment rate ranked 17th among the 25 most populous U.S. metros.
  • From October 2013 to October 2014, San Diego's unemployment rate fell by -1.6 percentage points, which ranked 8th.
  • San Diego's employment grew by more than 2.6 percent from October 2013 to October 2014, which ranked 8th.
  • San Diego's employment in professional, scientific and technical services (PST) grew by 5.0 percent, the 5th highest growth rate.
  • Manufacturing in San Diego grew more than 3.6 percent from the previous year, the 4th highest growth rate.

[Unemployment Chart]

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently released employment data for the October 2014 period for all U.S. metro areas. At 5.8 percent, San Diego County’s unemployment rate fell by 1.6 points from this time last year. San Diego's rate ranked 17th among major U.S. metros and remained above the U.S. overall rate of 5.5 percent. However, San Diego's rate fell faster than most metros. San Diego's percentage point change from October 2013 to October 2014 ranked 8th among major U.S. metros. While the unemployment rate in San Diego was higher than some of the region's key peer metros, it still fared better than other California metros like Los Angeles and Riverside, and fell roughly in the middle of the 25 most populous U.S. metros.

[Employment Chart]

When looking at employment growth, San Diego was one of the highest growing metros. From October 2013 to October 2014, the region's employment grew by more than 2.6 percent, which ranked 8th among the 25 most populous U.S. metros. The U.S. average growth rate was only 2 percent.

[PST Chart]

While San Diego's overall growth is very positive, we continued to see more explosive growth in one of the region's most important sectors. Professional, scientific and technical services (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. While we saw higher growth in in September (7.2 percent), employment in the region's PST sector grew by 5.0 percent since last October, still much higher than the U.S. average of 3.1 percent. San Diego ranked 5th among the 25 most populous U.S. metros in this measure, which is a positive sign for the region's key traded clusters.

[MFG Chart]

We saw even more  impressive growth in San Diego's manufacturing sector. 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 October 2013 to October 2014, manufacturing employment grew by 3.6 percent, which was faster than the region's overall growth rate. San Diego's manufacturing employment grew at twice the rate of the U.S., and recorded the 4th highest growth rate among major U.S. metros. 

While we already knew San Diego's October figures were positive, as we wrote in our most recent Manpower Monthly Employment Report, it remains important to understand San Diego's growth relative to its peers. San Diego continues to fare better than most in employment growth. Unemployment numbers are improving, but still lagging behind the U.S. and other key peer metros, which is something to remain cautious about. At this point, we know that November was very strong month nationally, in which the U.S. added 321,000 jobs, the most in almost three years. We also saw positive growth in temp jobs in November, according to Staffing Industry Analysts. It will be exciting to see how these figures are reflected by San Diego businesses and job seekers, which we will detail in November's Manpower Monthly Employment Report next Friday, December 19th, when the California Employment Development Department Releases the data.

Thank you to Manpower-SD for their ongoing support of EDC's employment trends research.

December 9, 2014

Barney & Barney logo

Not only does Barney & Barney know how to assist growing companies, but they’ve also seen growth of their own. In the past seven years, the firm has doubled in size in San Diego, housing 400 employees at its UTC location.

This week, we learned more about Barney & Barney’s growing San Diego business from Trindl Reeves, principal  & CSO.

1) Tell us about Barney & Barney

Barney & Barney provides insurance, risk management, executive liability and employee benefit solutions to companies and private clients.  We’ve been serving the San Diego community for over 100 years. 

It’s this stability along with adherence to our core values that has allowed us to grow without losing the culture that makes us who we are.  In February of 2014, Barney & Barney became the Western region headquarters for Marsh & McLennan Agency, a group of brokers nationwide dedicated to serving the middle market.  This unique structure enables us to operate autonomously and retain our culture while bringing ever greater resources to our clients though our parent company Marsh.  In San Diego, where our clients are also growing quickly and expanding into emerging markets, this distinctive model provides the best of both worlds.  

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

WHy Barney and Barney chose SD

We share a long history with San Diego. It’s our hometown.  San Diego offers a vibrant culture, an interplay of innovation and integrity, creativity and commitment.  We very much see ourselves as part of this interconnected community and continually look for ways to nurture those connections. 

San Diego fosters a business environment ripe for rapid growth and so it’s no secret that sometimes enterprising companies become attractive acquisition targets.  What’s advantageous about San Diego is the collaboration that acts as a buffer when companies enter the next phase of their growth.  What may seem like a loss quickly turns to opportunity for new growth, for the next innovation, whether it’s in life science or technology or hospitality. The next entrepreneur is right there, designing, creating, building.  We are honored to be part of this business community and to be here to advise and advocate for those companies as they evolve.

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.

Human Longevity, Inc. is one that comes to mind.  They epitomize the possibilities for a company in San Diego.  They’ve increased their personnel from 25 to 80 employees in three months.  HLI is taking what was once only a whisper of hope for people suffering from cancer, diabetes, and heart disease and creating advances in prevention, diagnosis and therapies that increase longevity and improve health.  Remarkable science matched only by their vision.  

4) What do you anticipate for your company in five years? What do you anticipate for San Diego?

Thanks to our clients, we’ve doubled in size in the last seven years, employing 400 associates here in University Town Center alone with no signs of slowing down.  We expect to grow by that measure again in five years both through continuing our local, organic development and by expanding our footprint across the West. 

While change always comes with some growing pains, we are confident in the culture we have established over the last century.  We remain committed to serving our clients, colleagues and community.  Part of that commitment includes giving back to the community through the Barney & Barney Foundation.  Last year, the Foundation passed the $1 million mark in donations and over the next five years we look forward to giving more to the communities we serve. 

San Diego is not going to slow down either.  We’ve handled 15 IPOs in the last two years which illustrates the dynamic business atmosphere here in San Diego. It’s a continuous cycle.  As soon as one ship launches, there’s always a new fleet of innovative companies ready to pull into port.  And Barney & Barney will be there to support them. 

December 5, 2014

San Diego’s tech community was celebrated on Thursday at CONNECT’s 27th Most Innovative New Products awards. Eight awards were given to outstanding companies representing the best of our innovation economy. Two individuals were honored with the newly renamed Duane Roth Distinguished Contribution Award.

The winner in the Aerospace and Security Technologies category was CyberFlow Analytics for FlowScape. FlowScape continuously analyzes billions of unstructured application and network traffic flows and applies machine learning algorithms to provide real-time actionable intelligence for anomalous behavior.

In the Communications and IT category the winner was Cubic for its NextBus Fleet Management Application, a modular, mobile gateway for connecting passengers and public transit managers to valuable real-time travel and operations information.

The award for Diagnostics and Research Tools went to Organovo’s exVive3D Liver model – functional 3D liver tissue constructs consisting of multiple primary human cell types which are found in native human liver. Organovo uses proprietary 3D bioprinting technology intended to improve preclinical drug discovery programs.

RockMyRun developed by Rock My World took the award in the Mobile Apps category. The app takes biometric data from smartphones and fitness wearable devices and then adjusts the music you’re listening to so that it matches your body, leading to increased enjoyment and improvement in performance.

In the Pharmaceutical Drugs and Medical Devices category Topera won for the topera 3d electrophysiologic mapping system which identifies the mechanisms that sustain atrial fibrillation in arrhythmia patients. By helping physicians visualize and localize these precise sources the topera system provides essential information for better patient outcomes.

CloudBeds won in the Software category. CloudBeds is an operating system for hotels where properties can manage their operations easily through online tools and distribute real-time room inventory to consumers and travel agents worldwide. This increases a property’s revenue while lowering its costs using learning algorithms that optimize a property’s room prices, availability and back-office tasks.

Pictured: Electrozyme's sensor

The Sports and Active Lifestyle Technologies award was claimed by Electrozyme (pictured) for the world’s first personal hydration monitor capable of assessing fluid and electrolyte loss in a non-invasive, real-time fashion. The wearable product indicates when it is time to rehydrate and also how much and with what to rehydrate.

The Solatube SkyVault Series won the Sustainability award. It employs advanced optics to deliver maximum daylight with minimal heat gain in large spaces with high, open ceilings. Modular components let designers spread light evenly, enhance light capture or control focus with one system.

The Duane Roth Distinguished Contribution Award for Life Science Innovation was given to Denny Sanford. Sanford’s philanthropic support for San Diego’s life science research community, particularly in the area of regenerative medicine, has enabled San Diego to become a worldwide leader in stem cell research and clinical development. Malin Burnham accepted the award on Sanford’s behalf and spoke eloquently about his friend and colleague and how he “puts his money where his mind is.”

The Duane Roth Distinguished Contribution Award for Technology Innovation was given to Robert Sullivan, dean of UC San Diego’s Rady School of Management. Although Sullivan was unaware that he was receiving the award he quickly reacted with graciousness and praise for the San Diego community and its steadfast support for the development of a world-class business school. Bloomberg Businessweek recently ranked the Rady School first in the United States in Intellectual Capital, which is a quality measure of faculty research.

More than 600 people gathered to celebrate the accomplishments of the 25 finalist companies and congratulate the winners.

December 2, 2014


If you ask companies why they chose San Diego, more often than not, they will mention a combination of three things: the availability of talent, a strong innovation economy and access to Mexico. Global IT company KIO Networks - formerly redIT - will site all three. Since opening its first facility in Kearny Mesa in 2001, KIO Networks has seen its data business boom and has grown its San Diego and Tijuana footprint as a result.

We spoke with Matt Thoene, managing director, for this week’s spotlight.

1) Tell us about KIO Networks.

KIO Networks is a global technology company that provides managed IT services, high-capacity connectivity and data center services for a wide range of organizations in the U.S. and Latin America.  Our job is to enable companies to focus resources on what drives their competitive advantage – not the distractions of owning and managing IT – for a lower total cost of ownership than if they were to set up, implement, and manage it themselves.  Our managed cloud service offerings are focused at the “infrastructure as a service” level, so we're providing the facilities, hardware, and support that our clients rely on for the applications that are mission-critical to their business. A key differentiator for our San Diego business is our cross-border connectivity. We have more than 1,000 miles of fiber throughout Mexico which provide connectivity to U.S. based businesses that need access to their facilities and businesses in Tijuana and throughout Mexico.

2) What are some advantages of doing business in San Diego?
Why redIT chose SD?

The fact that one of our primary services is providing cross-border connectivity to an extensive fiber network in Tijuana and throughout Mexico is the largest advantage to being located in San Diego. We have helped customers stretch their critical applications from our world class secure data centers here in San Diego to the door of their facilities in Mexico with little latency. It is essentially as if KIO Networks can provide a fiber cross connect and all on the KIO Networks infrastructure to a client’s door internationally. In addition, the ability to leverage a pool of local technical talent has been a great driver for success in our business and has fueled our dynamic growth.

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.

I would have to select Cyberflow Analytics. I’m impressed with their innovative approach to security and system analytics. Their approach leads to early detection of advanced-persistent threats (APTs) and other anomalous behavior within a client’s environment.  KIO Networks is working with CyberFlow Analytics to use their technology within our network and managed-services environment to help our customers address the ever-increasing challenges of cybersecurity.  San Diego has a strong cyber cluster and Cyberflow Analytics is one company that proves that. As the Internet becomes the Internet of Things (IoT), CyberFlow Analytics allows us to address the more varied security requirements that IoT necessitates.

4) What do you anticipate for your company in five years?

We see ourselves expanding our data center and cloud computing services along our current fiber footprint from San Diego to the East Coast, with points of presence (PoP) in Los Angeles, Phoenix, El Paso, Dallas and Miami. We are also hoping to launch a PoP in New York within the next few months, allowing our customers to utilize our network to pass data from New York to Los Angeles. In addition, we will be growing our cross-border network assets as far south as Peru and overseas into Spain.  We're aggressively growing as a company that can truly support the needs of our international clients across the globe. Leveraging multiple platforms for cloud computing technologies is a big piece of our strategy as we continue to anticipate the needs of the market and build specific services and capabilities that align with those needs.

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December 1, 2014

DRAGEN Chip Large Ball Array

Every year, The Scientist, a world-renowned science and innovation publication, looks to highlight “research products introduced in the past year that are poised to revolutionize the life sciences industry.” Half of the “Top 10 Innovations of 2014” list is made up of San Diego companies.

This is no small victory. Companies as far away as Austria, with its HAP1 Cells developed by Haplogen Genomics GmbH, were ranked. In fact, no other city had more than one local company ranked.

The San Diego winners of The Scientist’s Top 10 innovations of 2014 are:

  • DRAGEN Bio-IT Processor (Edico Genome) – This bioinformatics processor reduces the computational cost and increases speed of analyzing genomic sequence data.
  • MiSeqDX (Illumina) – This benchtop sequencer is the first next-generation sequencing tool approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for use in clinical diagnostics.
  • HiSeq X 10 (Illumina) – This platform enables whole-genome sequencing at population-level scales at the long-sought-for cost of $1,000 per human genome. 
  • IrysChipV2(BioNano Genomics, Inc.) – This tool provides a high-throughput platform for the visualization of large-scale genomic structure, with applications for mapping, assembly, and evolutionary analyses.
  • exVive3D Liver model (Organovo, Inc.) – This in vitro model mimics the macro and micro 3-D structure of the human liver, providing an experimental system that closely models in vivo human liver function.

With a strong concentration of research institutes, San Diego has made a name for itself as the genomics capital of the U.S. All of the San Diego-based innovations, with the exception of the exVive3D Liver model, are classified as genomics innovations.

Growing this base of innovative companies is a key focus of EDC’s work. In July, Illumina announced its plans to expand in San Diego, thanks to a 1.5 million tax rebate from the City of San Diego, which will retain and create 300 well-paying jobs locally. Because of this deal, Illumina will continue to develop its local footprint, and attract top scientists to the region.

As San Diego becomes ubiquitous for life sciences innovation, this ranking reiterates that products and innovations developed here have the power to change the world.

November 25, 2014

Lighthouse for the Blind

There are approximately 1.3 million people who are blind living in the United States. Like any other individuals, they need and want jobs. This is where Lighthouse for the Blind comes in.

As a privately-funded non-profit, they provide employment, support, and training opportunities for people who are blind, deaf-blind, and blind with other disabilities. Their military roots run deep, which makes San Diego an ideal location for Lighthouse. Not only do they serve many veterans with disabilities, but the military is also one of its largest customers.

This week, we spoke with Kirk Adams, president and CEO, to learn more about why this social enterprise operates in San Diego.

1) Tell us about Lighthouse for the Blind
We provide jobs to people who are blind, deaf-blind, and blind with other disabilities. In San Diego, we operate a Servmart, which is a store where military, civilians, and contractors can purchase the supplies from paperclips to tactical equipment and clothing.  We specialize in offering a high volume of AbilityOne (blind-made) products and expert knowledge of military requirements. We also operate two Contract Management Support (CMS) services in San Diego and are currently closing out contracts for NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Command in downtown San Diego, and DCMA (Defense Contracting Management Agency) in Kearny Mesa. CMS services help mitigate the critical government shortage of contract specialists by providing post-contract award administration support services. The Lighthouse employs 14 employees who are legally blind in San Diego. On the West Coast, we employ more than 240 people who are blind in 11 different locations. 

2) What are some advantages to doing business in San Diego?

Why Lighthouse chose San Diego

San Diego makes sense for us because of the strong military economy; it is where our customers and contracts are located, such as the Navy base. Additionally, there is a large population of capable blind adults looking for employment in the San Diego area. Growing our business means jobs for San Diegans who are frequently overlooked in traditional employment settings. Our mission – “to create and enhance opportunities for independence and self-sufficiency of people who are blind, deaf-blind, and blind with other disabilities” – stems from veterans who are blind returning from WWII with no hope for employment. Today, our mission is more critical than ever with the numbers of service men and women returning blinded from IED’s (improvised explosive devises) used in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

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. 
Qualcomm is committed to an environment of inclusion in which all people, including those with disabilities, have equal access and opportunities. Qualcomm connects students with disabilities of all ages to help prepare them for their careers and partners with local universities for Disability Mentoring Day. They also participate in the annual San Diego career fair for people with disabilities.

4) What do you anticipate for your company in five years?  
In five years we hope to have more than 25 employees who are legally blind employed in the San Diego area and a much larger community presence. 

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November 21, 2014

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“We continue to find ourselves in a much better position than the year before, as our labor force and employment base continue to grow. Job seekers are not only finding opportunities, but in industries that pay well.”
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 October 2014 period. At 5.8 percent, San Diego County’s unemployment rate dropped 0.1 points from September to October, and fell by 1.6 points from this time last year. The unemployment rate in the region remained 1.2 points below California’s 7.0 percent rate and tracked just above the U.S. average of 5.5 percent.

While a 0.1 point decrease may not seem particularly outstanding, the unemployment rate continued its descent while the labor force added 14,900 job-seekers this month. Unemployment claims remained flat, meaning there was one job for every one person who re-entered the labor force. This is a great sign moving forward, since it shows that workers are encouraged and finding jobs.

[Unemployment Chart]

When looking at employment changes, we see a mix of private and public sector growth, the latter due mostly to the return of public school employees. From September to October, the region’s total employment grew by 12,500 jobs, with the private sector accounting for 5,700 jobs.

Monthly private sector gains were partially offset by the continued seasonal decline of accommodation, recreation and food service workers that support our visitor and convention economy. These changes happen every year, as the summer travel season winds down. Much of this employment is made up for with seasonal gains in the retail trade sector, as businesses begin serving back-to-school and holiday shoppers.

[Tourism Chart]

Perhaps more importantly, San Diego’s total and private employment growth continued to outpace the U.S. average. Since October 2013, San Diego’s employment grew by 2.6 percent compared to 2.0 percent nationally. Likewise, the region’s private sector grew by 3.0 percent compared to 2.3 percent nationally.

Most of the private growth from September to October came from a handful of industries. Health care, education, retail trade and administrative services alone added more jobs than the net private sector, meaning the 7,300 jobs added in those industries were offset by losses elsewhere in the private sector, mostly in tourism-related industries.

[Growth Chart]

San Diego’s construction and manufacturing industries had a slow month, but that is typical for this period. These industries are still producing high year-over-year employment gains. Construction and manufacturing added a combined 8,000 jobs since October 2013, and both are growing well above the private sector average.

Innovation sectors continued to show annual job growth. Ship and boat building grew by more than 11 percent and is a critical component of our maritime cluster. The professional, scientific and technical services sector grew by 5.0 percent and represents many of our innovation employers. More specifically, scientific research and development services, which represents many cleantech and life science companies, grew by 4.2 percent since last October.


The numbers from October’s report are promising. We don’t entirely know the deeper causes behind the labor force and unemployment numbers, so optimism should be tempered in that regard. However, San Diego continues to experience above average annual job growth driven by its core industries like health care, advanced manufacturing and science-related services, which is clearly something to remain optimistic about.

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.

November 18, 2014

SeaWorld San Diego

People across the globe – and in San Diego - know SeaWorld.  But what many people don’t know is their deep commitment to the communities they serve. In addition to hosting EDC’s Annual Dinner last year, SeaWorld San Diego is involved in many programs that bolster our economy. Through various community initiatives, they have demonstrated their commitment to putting youth to work and conserving many of the region’s resources.

We sat down with John Reilly, park president at SeaWorld San Diego and Aquatica Chula Vista, to learn more about the company’s broad reach.

1) Tell us about SeaWorld San Diego
Most San Diegans have heard of SeaWorld. Animals, shows, rides, Shamu —that’s all true, but most people don’t know how deeply SeaWorld affects the lives of park visitors. Jody Westberg visited the park as a youngster and dreamed of working with marine life. Today she heads SeaWorld’s animal rescue program, dedicating her life to giving ill and injured animals a second chance. Jenna Golden visited SeaWorld as a student enrolled in one of our camps. During college Jenna returned to the park as an Educator, and she now teaches youngsters about conservation and how their actions affect the world’s oceans.  Kristi Burtis grew up in San Diego and enjoyed numerous Shamu shows as a child. Today she trains the park’s killer whales and shares the special bond she has with the animals with millions of visitors.  So what does SeaWorld do?  We entertain, educate, conserve and connect people with the natural world we share.  

2) What are some advantages to doing business in San Diego?
Why Sea World Chose San Diego SeaWorld has the good fortune of being located on beautiful Mission Bay. This awe inspiring location, expansive waterfront and adjacent coastal areas allow the park’s habitats and educational programs to impact the local community. The animal rescue program has tremendous access to local beaches for rescues and adjacent waterways to return healthy animals back to the wild. And, San Diego’s perfect weather, dining, shopping, beaches and world-class zoo make it a perfect place for tourists. Visitors from around the globe chose to holiday in San Diego. Few cities in America offer tourists such a vast array of activities and locales.   

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.
The Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute, an innovative, independent, non-profit organization seeking real life solutions to sea life problems, recently launched two projects that are sure to impact global initiatives. On the research front, Hubbs is documenting the influence of infectious and non-infectious diseases on free-ranging animals, including zoonotic diseases (those transmissible from animals to humans). Marine mammals may play a role similar to pigs as hosts for influenza viruses and future studies are aimed at better understanding these relationships. This research has the potential to impact future medical advances and solutions. On another front, Hubbs has embarked on an ambitious fish farming program. The United States is the third-largest consumer of seafood in the world, but we only produce about nine percent of it domestically.  Hubbs is proposing a creative solution that provides an alternative source of protein and a new paradigm in the seafood business. The project, which will start by raising about 1,000 tons of California yellowtail, could serve as a model for environmentally sustainable offshore aquaculture.

4) What do you anticipate for your company in five years? What do you anticipate for San Diego? 
John Reilly speaks at SeaWorld's 50th Anniversary Celebration in March This year SeaWorld celebrated its 50th anniversary and we could not be more excited about the park’s future. A few months ago we announced the Blue World project. Blue World includes a first-of-its-kind killer whale environment, an Independent Advisory Panel that will focus on creating something innovative that maximizes the health and wellbeing of the animals, $10 million in matching funds for killer whale research and a multi-million dollar partnership focused on ocean health. The Blue World habitat will build on SeaWorld’s legacy of providing state-of-the art homes for its animals, and will offer park guests unique and inspiring killer whale encounters for generations to come. This new environment will have a total water volume of 10 million gallons, a maximum depth of 50 feet, surface area of nearly 1.5 acres and views exceeding 40 feet in height providing guests with the world’s largest underwater viewing experience of killer whales. This tremendous new environment will enhance the educational experience for guests, foster deeper knowledge of killer whales and their ocean environment and inspire them to celebrate and conserve the natural world. Blue World will open summer, 2018 and we know San Diegans are going to be awestruck at the incredible vista and one-of-a-kind opportunity to see and learn about killer whales.


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