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The Big Picture San Diego Blog


Big Picture San Diego Blog

September 9, 2014

EDC has great investors. From Fortune 500 companies to small businesses, we have investors that are contributing to the local economy, creating jobs, mobilizing the community-at-large, and serving as the backbone of San Diego’s vibrant economy.  

Introducing the Investor Spotlight Series: Every week, we will take a closer look at one company or organization that is underwriting our economic development efforts. Not only do these companies accelerate our economy, but together, they are writing our regional narrative and illustrating how San Diego serves as a magnet for investment, talent and innovation. Their business decisions drive our region's economic growth and answer the question: Why San Diego?

Steve Stoloff, Founder and CEO, VaVI

To kick this series off, we spoke with Vavi Sports & Social Club CEO Steve Stoloff. Since 2002, VAVi Sport & Social Club has brought together adults who want to have fun in San Diego through a variety of sports leagues, social events, vacations and volunteer opportunities.  An Inc. 5000's fastest growing company, VAVi  has chosen to locate in San Diego, but the year round sunshine isn’t the only reason the region is the headquarters for this sports and active lifestyle company.  Behind the curtain is an entrepreneurial and innovative company that’s helping organizations across the country rethink the way they produce large scale events.

Here’s what Steve had to say:

1) Tell us about VAVi

VAVi brings fun to life!  We are Southern California’s largest organizer of co-ed social sports and activities for active young professionals. Over 90,000 members in San Diego participate in our softball, kickball, dodgeball and soccer leagues and attend our social events like the New Year’s Eve Beach Party at the Catamaran Resort in Pacific Beach.  We also launched several 5k obstacle races, including the Del Mar Mud Run and the Ridiculous Obstacle Challenge 5k (better known as the ROC Race).  We also are very active in the community, and in the past few years, we’ve raised nearly $200,000 for the Challenged Athletes Foundation through our events and activities. 

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

VaVI Sports and Social Club

San Diego is the perfect home for a sports and active lifestyle business.  With perfect weather year-round, there are plenty of opportunities to get outside and get active.  Our event calendar runs from January through December, with small breaks for the holidays.  We partner with similar organizations all across the country, and they have to shut down the majority of their activities during the winter months – that’s simply not the case here!   San Diego is also a great sports town, and the sports business community is thriving.  Organizations like San Diego Sport Innovators help bring like-minded entrepreneurs together and those connections accelerate innovation and 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.

Carlsbad is home to the Action Sports and Olympics Division of the Wasserman Media Group.  Steve Astephen, John Lee and the Wasserman team represent athletes at the top of their game – they represented 25 athletes in the recent Winter Olympics held in Sochi, and 7 of their athletes medaled!   They are a leader in the Sports and Active Lifestyle industry, and are very active in the local business community. 

4) What’s in store for VAVi in the next five years?
I expect VAVi to continue to be the leader in adult recreational sports for many years to come.  In a world that’s increasingly digital, people need an outlet to unplug and have some fun.  Experiences are increasingly becoming a new form of luxury, and our events provide great conversation for the proverbial water cooler (not to mention, the photos are great Facebook fodder, too).   We are continuously adapting and innovating, so some of our events may no longer exist, but I’m sure we’ll come up with new ideas to take their place. 

5) What’s next for San Diego?

I expect San Diego to continue to grow and thrive just like VAVi.  Many of the brightest innovators and entrepreneurs in the country call San Diego home, and with organizations like EDC helping to support local economic development, I’m excited to see what the next five years has in store.

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August 21, 2014

San Diego Companies on Inc. 5000 list

Although San Diego is only home to 1 percent of the nation’s privately-owned businesses, it is home to more than 2 percent of the Inc 5000 list. In 2013, 101 companies made the Inc. 5000 ranks. According the 2014 data, 113 companies throughout San Diego County are now considered the fastest growing companies in the U.S.

EDC investors VAVi Sport & Social Club, Sentek Global, D&K Engineering, SKLZ and Stone Brewing Co. all made the ranks. Other familiar names, such as TakeLessons and Underground Elephant, were also mentioned on the list.

Businesses on the list are ranked according to their past three years of revenue growth. Inherently, the list methodology recognizes many small and medium-sized companies, as they often see large revenue percentage growths in their first few years. From 2010-2013, the number of startups on the list grew by 310 percent. San Diego’s story is consistent with many of the overall national trends. As an economy made up of small and medium-sized businesses, San Diego has seen tremendous growth and innovation from its startup and tech community.

Using city-specific data, Inc. has concurrently released its “10 Top Cities for Fast-Growth Companies” list, with San Diego coming in at number 5. Inc. writes “This southern California city is not only known for its beautiful coastline, but it’s also quickly becoming a sought-after tech hub.”  This Inc. accolade comes on the heels of other positive San Diego rankings, such as Forbes’ designation of San Diego as one of the “Coolest Cities in the U.S.”

Although many of our recent rankings just look at one factor or sector of our economy, the theme remains: Whether it's tech, lifestyle or culture, San Diego – and its economy – continues to shine. 

You can view the complete San Diego list here.

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August 15, 2014

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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.

[Unemployment Chart]

HIGHLIGHTS

  • July is a historically misleading month, as state and local public education employees are subject to seasonal layoffs.
  • At 6.6 percent, San Diego’s unemployment rate went up again in July, this time by 0.5 percentage points from June. However, unemployment was down 1.4 points from July 2013.
  • San Diego’s unemployment rate was lower than the California average, but climbed slightly above the U.S. average.
  • The region lost 5,900 jobs from June to July, but added 37,200 jobs from the previous year, the highest year over year job growth recorded in 2014.
  • Construction industry employment in July was up more than 11.3 percent from the previous year.
  • The manufacturing industry added 2,200 jobs since the previous July.
  • Staffing services grew by more than 3.3 percent since last year, more than any other professional or business service subsector.
  • Tourism, innovation, construction and healthcare sectors continued to drive much of the monthly and annual employment growth.

[Unemployment Chart]

The California Employment Development Department (EDD) released statewide county employment data today for the July 2014 period. San Diego County's unemployment rate went up from June to July, but fell by 1.4 points from this time last year. The unemployment rate in the region remained lower than California's average, but is now barely higher than the U.S. average (0.1 points higher). As stated in last month's report, a summer rise in the unemployment rate is common, as many students and other seasonal workers begin looking for summer employment, but struggle to find employment, driving up the labor force. The labor force increased by 14,800 from June to July, more than one-third of which found employment. The other two-thirds entered the unemployed category during a season when thousands of state and local educators, among other seasonal employees, are temporarily out of work. While there's no certainty in the future, history tells us to expect the unemployment rate to decline steadily from here on out through the end of the year.

[Employment Chart]

When looking at employment growth, we continue to see positive signs of steady growth, despite a misleading seasonal decline. From June to July, the region lost 5,900 jobs. On the surface, this seems negative until you consider that state and local public education contributed 12,800 lost jobs to the region as a result of seasonal layoffs. The private sector actually added 6,800 jobs, a sign of continued economic growth. When looking at overall growth since last July, the region’s economy added 37,200 jobs, a 2.8 percent increase and the largest annual growth recorded in 2014. Meanwhile, the region’s private sector grew by more than 3.1 percent over that period. Over the same period, San Diego experienced a 1.4 percentage point drop in the unemployment rate and a 17 percent drop in people who identified as unemployed, even with a slight increase in labor force participation.

[PST Chart]

San Diego’s traded economies drove much of the region’s employment growth. Professional, scientific and technical services (PST), heavily associated with innovation, added 2,200 jobs since June 2014 and 6,700 jobs since July 2013, for an annual growth rate of 5.4 percent, well above the economy-wide average. PST includes subsectors like scientific research and development, which grew by more than three percent over the year. PST accounted for nearly one-third of the private employment growth from June to July. San Diego’s tourism industry accounted for more than 39 percent of the region’s private employment growth from June to July, adding 2,700 jobs. In addition, the industry added 6,000 jobs since July 2013. Most of the growth is driven by food service businesses, but arts and recreation businesses also grew by six percent since last year. Health care and social services was another major contributor, adding 6,000 jobs since last July.

San Diego’s goods producing industries continued their steady employment growth. Manufacturing added another 200 employees from June to July, for a total of 2,200 jobs added since July 2013. Meanwhile, the construction industry continues to soar, and not just because of summer seasonal growth. The industry added 1,500 jobs from June to July and 7,000 jobs since July 2013, both of which represent more than 20 percent of private employment growth over those periods. 

[MFG Chart]

When going beyond the basic headlines of job loss and unemployment growth, the July employment report was actually full of good signs for San Diego’s economy. Our private sector economy continued to grow at a steady pace of more than three percent year-over-year. Goods-producing industries like construction and manufacturing continued to add jobs, and our innovation sectors grew well above the normal economic pace. While higher unemployment and overall job loss is concerning, it is very clear that these are simply seasonal trends related mostly to annual public education layoffs.

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.

August 14, 2014

Pharma MFG info

Selected by the US Secretary of Commerce as one of the 12 advanced manufacturing communities in the country, San Diego is on the forefront of helping to strengthen American manufacturing. Manufacturing supports more than 90,000 jobs throughout San Diego County. National Manufacturing Day on October 3 provides San Diego and Northern Baja manufacturers an opportunity to highlight to the local community and the country, the diverse products that are manufactured in our region.

So why should San Diego County care about manufacturing? Here are a few reasons:

  • San Diego County’s 2,909 manufacturers employ 94,445.
  • Manufacturing industry jobs pay on average $75,824 annually, compared to the average private employer at $53,778.
  • Manufacturing industry jobs pay about 41 percent more than the average private job.
  • The manufacturing industry represents about 8.7 percent of all jobs in San Diego and about 12.2 percent of all wages/pay.
  • The manufacturing industry contributes more than $7.1 billion in wages every year.

On Oct. 3, many San Diego and Northern Baja companies will open their doors to the public as part MFG Day, a national program that addresses common misperceptions about the manufacturing industry.  If you know a manufacturer in our region, encourage them to participate! Participants currently confirmed to host tours include: 3D Robotics, D&K Engineering and more. MFgday.com has the complete list.

Med-Device-mFGs

The tours will be preceded by a breakfast panel and discussion with leaders in the manufacturing industry at San Diego Central Public Library including California Manufacturers and Technology Association, 3D Robotics, CareFusion, General Dynamics NASSCO, Sector 9, and ViaSat. To register to attend, visit https://sandiegomfgday2014.eventbrite.com.

We hope to see you at Manufacturing Day, but if we don’t catch you there, you can still follow the conversation on twitter using the hashtag #MadeinSD. 

Manufacturing day is presented by San Diego City College CACT Program with additional sponsorship provided by D&K Engineering, Chase, Manpower, National University

Thank you to our media partner, San Diego Business Journal. 

#MadeinSD

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July 24, 2014

Comic Con

Via Nerdist 

North America’s largest pop culture convention kicks off in San Diego today.  For more than 40 years, people from around the globe have flocked to San Diego for Comic- Con. What does this mean for the region? We pulled some numbers together to find out:

  • The projected economic impact to the region is $177.8 million 
  •  In 1970, 300 people attended the first Comic-Con. Today, a crowd of more than 130,000 attend the four-day event
  •  Comic-Con means approximately 60,960 hotel room nights have been booked in San Diego 
  •  The estimated cumulative attendance since 1970 is 1,840,000 people
  • If all of Comic-Con attendees in the show’s history linked arms, the line would reach 1,855 mi, which would stretch from the San Diego Convention Center past Chicago (via Nerdist)
  • Plans for an Expanded Convention Center are underway, which will add 740,000 square feet and is expected to yield 7,000 new permanent jobs and $13.5 million in additional tax revenue to the city’s general fund. When complete, San Diego will boast the largest contiguous exhibit space on the West Coast, enticing conventions like Comic-Con to continue calling San Diego home

July 18, 2014

[Banner]

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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.

[Quote]

HIGHLIGHTS

  • At 6.1 percent, San Diego’s June unemployment rate went up 0.3 percentage points from May, but down 1.7 points from June 2013.
  • San Diego’s unemployment rate was lower than the U.S. and California averages.
  • The region added 9,700 jobs from May to June, and 34,600 jobs from the previous year.
  • Construction industry employment in June was up more than 8.4 percent from the previous year.
  • The manufacturing industry added 2,400 jobs since the previous June.
  • Tourism and Innovation sectors continued to drive much of the monthly and annual employment growth.

[Unemployment Chart]

The California Employment Development Department (EDD) released statewide county employment data today for the June 2014 period. San Diego’s unemployment rate went up from May to June, but remained lower than California and U.S. averages. Historically, a rise in the unemployment rate is common in June, as many students and other seasonal workers begin looking for summer employment, thus driving up the labor force. The labor force increased by 3,200 from May to June. Meanwhile, total unemployment increased by 3,900, presumably comprised mostly of those entering the labor force. This trend is expected to continue throughout the summer, but is typical both historically and across the country.

[Employment Chart]

When looking at employment growth, we continue to see positive signs of steady growth. From May to June, the region added 9,700 jobs, more than 90 percent of which came from the private sector. When looking at growth since last June, the region’s economy added 34,600 jobs, a 2.6 percent increase. Meanwhile, the region’s private sector grew by more than three percent over that period. Over the same period, San Diego experienced a 1.7 percentage point drop in the unemployment rate and a 19 percent drop in people who identified as unemployed (after adjusting for lower labor force participation).

San Diego’s innovation sectors drove much of the region’s employment growth. Professional, scientific and technical services (PST) added 1,400 jobs since May 2014 and 6,800 jobs since June 2013, for an annual growth rate of 5.5 percent, well above the economy-wide average. PST accounted for more than 20 percent of the annual private employment growth—more than any other sector. The region’s maritime industry also experienced significant growth, with the ship and boat building sector growing 6.8 percent over the year.

[PST Chart]

San Diego’s tourism industry accounted for more than 34 percent of the region’s private employment growth from May to June, adding 3,000 jobs. In addition, the industry added 5,700 jobs since June 2013, with most of that growth coming from the food service industry. Health care and social services was another major contributor. The sector added 1,100 jobs since May and 5,700 jobs since last year.

San Diego’s goods producing industries continued their steady employment growth. Manufacturing employment has been rocky, but steadily grew year-over-year for more than five years. From June 2013 to June 2014, the industry added 2,400 jobs for about a 2.5 percent growth rate. Since June 2010, the industry has added more than 3,600 jobs. Meanwhile, the construction industry continues to soar. From June 2013 to June 2014, the industry added 5,200 jobs, about 8.5 percent growth. 

[MFG Chart]

While again 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 or are middle-to-high wage jobs in the region. For instance, employees in the PST industry make on average more than $100,000 per year. Manufacturing employees make more than $75,000 per year, more than 40 percent above the region’s average annual wage. High wage jobs help support other sectors in the economy by circulating more dollars throughout the economy. Therefore, consistent growth in these sectors is important for the economy as a whole.

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.

July 15, 2014


The ‘World’s Smartest Company’ just made one of the world’s smartest decisions. Today, genomics pioneer Illumina announced its plans to expand in San Diego.  With the help of EDC, the City of San Diego has announced an agreement that will help keep the biotech company and hundreds of high-paying jobs in San Diego. The City will provide a tax rebate in exchange for the retention and creation of 300 well-paying jobs.

This is a perfect example of how San Diego can support middle class jobs while also encouraging economic growth,” said Mayor Faulconer. “This agreement keeps hundreds of high wage jobs in San Diego, ensures city residents benefit from over a million dollars in annual sales tax revenue, and strengthens our region’s leadership in biotechnology.”

The announcement was made today at press conference at Illumina’s headquarters with CEO Jay Flatley, City of San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer,  Council President Pro Tem Sherri Lightner and EDC President and CEO Mark Cafferty. The City Council will now vote to ratify the agreement during the week of July 21.

Founded in 1998 with 15 employees, Illumina now has 3,000  employees – 1,500 which are in San Diego –   with offices in virtually every continent. The innovator has also emerged as one of the most important companies in the global biotech field. Earlier this year, they became the first company to sequence the human genome for under $1,000 a person, making one of the most significant strides in personalized medicine in the past decade. That’s one of the reasons Illumina was recently named “World’s Smartest Company” by MIT Technology Review, ahead of Tesla Motors, Google and Samsung.

“We’re excited to continue to grow a state-of-the-art campus that will not only contribute to Illumina’s success, but also contribute to the growth of San Diego’s life sciences community, to the advancement of genetic research, and ultimately to help people around the globe realize the benefits of personalized medicine,” said Jay Flatley, Illumina’s CEO.

“The fact that the ‘World’s Smartest Company’ has decided to expand its footprint in San Diego speaks volumes to the quality of our biotech industry and innovation economy,” said Mark Cafferty, president and CEO of EDC. “Not only do we have a Mayor that values economic development and job creation, but we also have a cutting-edge company showing how much they value San Diego’s dynamic workforce, manufacturing expertise and research capabilities.”

After an initial meeting with Illumina,  Mark Cafferty called Mayor Faulconer to express his concerns about Illumina expanding outside the region. Within 24 hours, Mayor Faulconer had cleared his schedule to sit down with key Illumina stakeholders to discuss the innovator’s growth plans. 

Like most of San Diego’s successes, collaboration helped us get to this point. Cushman & Wakefield’s Steve Rosetta and Former EDC Board Chair Stath Karras were able to spot a need to engage with Illumina early on in this process.  BIOCOM, Go-BIZ and partners at the State of California were also involved in guiding Illumina’s decision. Another EDC Board Member David Hale, considered one of the godfathers of biotech in San Diego, had flagged Illumina as the “next big thing.” All bets are, David is right.

As San Diego works to tell its innovation story to the rest of the world, we can look to Illumina as a strong global company. They have chosen to stay in San Diego because of the collaboration between the City and other partners as well as the strong talent pool that exists here. They are in England. They are in Brazil. They are in the UK. They are in Japan. But at the end of the day, they are headquartered in San Diego. And that’s the story we need to continue to tell.

U-T has more.

June 25, 2014

Pharma Icon Medical Device Icon Genomics Icon Biofuels Icon Craftbeer icon

Timing is everything. With BIO 2014 in full swing, Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) has released its list of the top U.S. life sciences clusters. No stranger to life sciences stardom, San Diego comes in third on the list. From algae biofuels to genomics, medical devices, and even beer, San Diego has seen a strong surge of cross-convergence throughout the biotech sector.

San Diego’s innovation economy is anchored by our strong biotech cluster. Not only are we home to what MIT researchers have dubbed ‘The World’s Smartest Company’ – Illumina – but the region’s leadership in stem cell research and the mapping of the human genome is second to none,” said Mark Cafferty, president and CEO of San Diego Regional EDC.

A combination of top-tier universities, a strong talent pool, and innovative companies have made San Diego a bio hub. Additionally, BIOCOM has worked to accelerate San Diego’s dynamic life sciences community.

This year’s rankings were based on life sciences employment concentration, employment growth, establishment concentration, venture capital funding and patents as well as NIH funding. If you are up on your rankings, you may realize that San Diego has dropped a spot since JLL 2013 rankings. In terms of job creation, San Diego is number one for life sciences employment concentration and number two for life sciences employment growth.

Adding employment growth and patent applications to the Global Life Sciences Cluster Report scorecard this year, two areas where the San Francisco Bay Area particularly excels, meant that San Diego dropped a spot from last year’s report,” said Brian Cooper, senior vice president at JLL. “However, as former president Bill Clinton declared on national television, San Diego has become the ‘human genome research capital in America,’ which bolsters our city’s strength in developing and supporting a collaborative cluster so attractive to emerging life science companies.”

One area where San Diego’s ranking has dropped is venture capital:  “Although we saw a dip in venture capital, this can be partially explained by the rise in local biotech companies going public. Last year was one of the strongest years for biotech IPOs in the past decade, which means in many cases companies did not need to raise late-stage money,” said Cafferty.

Eight San Diego companies went public in 2013 including Fate Therapeutics and Tandem Diabetes.          

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.

June 19, 2014

Today, the Brookings Institution released its first-ever metro-level analysis of foreign direct investment’s role in the San Diego metropolitan area’s economy as part of its Global Cities Initiative, a joint project of the Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase. The report analyzes the types of foreign-owned businesses located in the San Diego metropolitan area, outlines the region’s sources of foreign investment and shows that 48,370 jobs are supported by FDI locally.

The research finds that San Diego has seen a steady climb in its FDI ranking, which is based on the top 100 most populous metropolitan areas in the US. In 1991, San Diego ranked 31 on the list with 25,600 jobs in foreign-owned establishments (FOE). In 2011, the region ranked 24th with 48,730 jobs, signifying more than a 90 percent increase in the number of jobs in FOEs in a 20 year period. Other key finds specific to the San Diego region are bulleted out below:

  • Industries with the highest concentration of jobs in FOEs include precision instruments (unmanned systems, medical devices), grocery stores and semiconductors
  • The largest share of jobs by FOE were created from mergers and acquisitions (36 percent)
  • FOEs have become more goods-intensive. The most recent data shows that 2011 was the first time more jobs in FOEs were concentrated in goods as opposed to services
  • Tokyo (13 percent) followed by London (12.1 percent) are the top sources of FDI by city

Since April 2014, San Diego has been part of a Global Cities Initiative pilot program to create and implement metropolitan plans to secure and sustain FDI. The FDI in U.S. Metro Areas report will help the region’s Global Cities Initiative team – comprised of leadership from the City of San Diego, San Diego Regional EDC, BIOCOM and Qualcomm – design its plan to maximize the amount, quality and economic benefits of FDI in the region and integrate FDI into an overall smart economic global trade and investment strategy.  San Diego is one of two cities - and the only in California - that Brookings selected to publish and develop its FDI plan.

“San Diego is global city,” said Mark Cafferty, president and CEO of San Diego Regional EDC. “It’s no coincidence that our top two FDI-generating cities– Tokyo and London – are also the two direct international flights out of San Diego. This report gives the San Diego region a key resource to take full advantage of this important economic development tool.”

 

While the United States remains the world’s top destination for foreign investment, its position has been steadily eroding. Between 1999 and 2012, the U.S. share of global FDI inflows dropped from a high of 26 percent to just 12 percent. However, metropolitan areas are the country’s strongest magnets for global investment and so understanding the San Diego metro area’s FDI starting point will help the region fully leverage FDI to advance its economic development.

Brookings Panel in Seattle

According to the Brookings report, the benefits of FDI extend well beyond the millions of jobs supported. For example, U.S. affiliates of foreign companies pay well above average wages. These companies strengthen U.S. trade, producing more than one-fifth of all U.S. goods exports. Additionally, nineteen percent of all corporate R&D expenditures in the United States come from foreign-owned companies. Finally, 48 percent of total FDI flows in 2012 went to manufacturing industries, shoring up the nation’s eroding production base.

While metro areas have traditionally focused on attracting greenfield investment, this new data shows that most FDI enters regions through mergers and acquisitions. In the average year, mergers and acquisitions account for 87 percent of all FDI inflows into the United States. These investments have significant economic potential—for example, cash infusions can help local businesses expand, and new access to global distribution networks can boost exports.

“This new data allows U.S. metro areas, for the first time, better grasp FDI sources and trends, and its impact on local economies,” said Brad McDearman, Brookings fellow and director of metro trade and investment. “As part of the Global Cities Initiative, San Diego is now at the forefront of U.S. metro areas seeking to position themselves as more globally fluent and competitive regions by developing a metropolitan global trade and investment plan.”

Next week, leaders from San Diego will travel to Louisville, Ky. to take part in a Global Cities Initiative panel.