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The Big Picture San Diego Blog


Big Picture San Diego Blog

February 28, 2018

Last Friday, San Diego hosted Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, as a follow up to San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and WTC San Diego's "World's Greenest Cities” trade mission to Vancouver, Canada.

The day began with a public Mayoral Forum on North American Competitiveness and Sustainability, held at the University Club in downtown. Mayor Faulconer and Mayor Robertson were joined by City of Tijuana COO, Bernabe Esquer, in a moderated discussion on cross-border cooperation and city leadership in economic and environmental issues. The event was attended by more than 100 civic and business leaders.

Building on the theme of sustainability, Mayor Robertson was taken on a tour of San Diego-based Measurabl, the company responsible for the world’s fastest growing sustainability software for commercial buildings and facilities. The local startup develops cloud-based software that collects data on energy consumption, creates investment-grade sustainability reports and alerts companies to improvement opportunities for added efficiency. The company visit showcased how San Diego companies play a leading role in developing green technologies that get adopted around the world.

Mayor Robertson left that evening for the C40 Mayors Summit in Mexico City with much report on his visit to life-changing San Diego. At the forefront: San Diego’s working relationship with Tijuana can be a model for border cities like Vancouver in addressing issues that span national boundaries.

 

February 23, 2018

A world leader in 3G, 4G and 5G wireless technologies, Qualcomm is San Diego County’s largest publicly traded company. The locally-grown company has, quite literally, put the smart in our smart phones.

More than that though, Qualcomm has poured into the San Diego community. Its innovation and investment in this region has catalyzed life-changing developments in robotics, unmanned systems and mobile health, as well as inspired more than 3,300 students to pursue careers in STEM through its Thinkabit Lab.

And as Qualcomm juggles an unsolicited offer from Broadcom and a record-breaking acquisition of NXP Semiconductors, there is no denying that this San Diego tech innovator has shaped the region's economy and connected millions across the globe.

EDC recently produced an economic impact assessment of Qualcomm, based on 2017 data. The numbers:

  • In 2017, the total economic impact of Qualcomm on the San Diego region’s economy was an estimated $4.9 billion. This is equivalent to 35 Comic-Cons.
  • While Qualcomm directly employs 13,000 people locally, Qualcomm’s presence in the region impacts an estimated 36,050 jobs when considering direct, indirect and induced effects (expenditures of production, B2B spending and local spending of wages by employees and other businesses).
  • Every dollar generated directly by Qualcomm results in an increase of almost $2 in the San Diego region’s GDP.
  • In 2017, Qualcomm impacted approximately $3.4 billion in wages in the regional economy.
  • In 2017, Qualcomm impacted an estimated $7.9 billion in economic activity (output).

EDC will release the full economic impact assessment on Qualcomm in April. Stay tuned.

Follow along and share your support with #QualCOMMUNITY.

 

February 21, 2018

Recovering from a decrease in employment during Q3 2017, San Diego, and the overwhelming majority of the most populous metros, experienced an increase in employment during Q4 2017. The region’s total nonfarm employment grew 22,100, or 1.5 percent during the quarter. Compared to a year ago, nonfarm employment was up 21,100, or 1.5 percent.

Meanwhile, San Diego’s unemployment rate was 3.3 percent in Q4, the lowest the region has seen in the last 17 years and down from 4.1 percent in Q3.

Key findings from the Quarterly Economic Snapshot:

  • San Diego closed Q4 2017 with an unemployment rate of 3.3 percent, the 7th lowest among top U.S. metros and below the state rate of 4.2 percent.
  • With the holiday season in full bloom, the retail sector continued to grow, adding 7,500 jobs in Q4. Other strong contributors to the quarterly employment growth were professional, scientific, and technical services and state and local government, together adding 13,200 jobs.
  • The median home price rose slightly from the previous quarter, and is now up 7.4 percent compared to a year ago.
  • VC dollars in the region increased 33 percent compared to a year ago.

The Quarterly Economic Snapshot analyzes key economic indicators that are important to understanding the regional economy and the region’s standing relative to the 25 most populous metropolitan areas in the U.S. This releases includes data from October to December (Q4) 2017.

Read it here, and see our research center for more.

February 15, 2018

Today, EDC launched a data-driven initiative to drive economic growth and inclusion in the region. Catalyzed by San Diego’s participation in the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program learning lab in 2017, EDC released research that highlights the region’s economic pain points and necessity for an employer-led approach to tackling inclusivity issues.

Despite record-low unemployment and a renowned innovation ecosystem, San Diego has an inclusion problem that cannot be ignored,” said Mark Cafferty, president and CEO, San Diego Regional EDC. “Small businesses cannot compete with larger corporations, while one million people cannot afford to live here. This initiative is a call to action for San Diego’s employers – we must come together to bridge the gaps in our economy.”

While the rise of the innovation economy has created wealth and opportunity across the region, it has also widened economic inequalities. If San Diego does not change its status quo, the region will lose employees and companies to other regions. 

Key facts:

With the combination of a high cost of living, low educational attainment in our fastest growing population and a small business-centric economy that struggles to pay competitive wages, it is imperative that San Diego employers take action to promote economic inclusion.

Convened by EDC, a Steering Committee of local employers will work to create an actionable platform to achieve three goals: close the minority achievement gap; equip small businesses to compete; and address the affordability crisis. The committee consists of nearly 40 local employers including Northrop Grumman, Solar Turbines, Sempra, Thermo Fisher Scientific, San Diego Padres and more.

Inclusion is not a philanthropy issue. This is about economic competitiveness, and San Diego’s employers must lead the charge in addressing inequity in our local workforce, said Janice Brown, founder and owner, Brown Law Group, and incoming board chair, San Diego Regional EDC. “But if any region can change and reinvent itself, it’s this one.” 

If the region intends to compete in the global market, employers and economic development leaders must work to ensure all workers have equal opportunity to thrive. While talent attraction efforts are necessary in an increasingly global economy, San Diego must ensure its future workforce is prepared for jobs in the innovation economy and recognize opportunity within its local talent pool.

To view the research summary, click here.

Over the next year, EDC and the Steering Committee will produce ongoing research and develop actionable recommendations to inclusive economic development in San Diego that will be updated on sandiegobusiness.org/inclusivegrowth.

The initiative launched at an event hosted by EDC at the Jackie Robinson YMCA, with special guest Amy Liu, vice president and director of the Metropolitan Policy Program, at the Brookings Institution.

Other partners and organizations are making progress as well. On February 27, National University and the San Diego Workforce Partnership are hosting Dr. Raj Chetty, leading impact economist from Stanford University, and the author of research that inspired much of the focus on inclusion, nationally.  He will discuss social mobility markers and the link between mobility and economic growth. To RSVP for the event, click here.

 

February 14, 2018

Last week, President Trump signed a two-year budget deal that included a hike in the debt ceiling and agreements to raise spending caps for domestic and defense programs.

For San Diego, a community where 20 percent of our GRP is tied to the military, this bill provides some stability and relief from the constant threat of continuing resolutions and sequester.

In order to better understand how fluctuations in defense spending impact our regional economy, EDC has released “Mapping San Diego’s Defense Ecosystem,” as well as a data visualization tool at SanDiego.DoDspend.com. This is the first of its kind regional analysis that focuses on the industrial composition of the defense supply chain and quantifies the number of firms and jobs that are impacted by defense spending. This project was executed as part of phase one of Propel San Diego, a Department of Defense funded grant initiative awarded to the City of San Diego.  

Specifically, the web tool provides deal flow information at the zip code level and by industry across the county. Why this matters: the 2019 budget includes two Fleet Replenishment Oilers (T-AO) priced at $1.1 billion. These ships will likely be built by General Dynamics NASSCO here in San Diego. While those contracts are awarded over a period time, by using this new tool, users can see that this funding will have a direct impact in creating more than 1,000 jobs in the shipbuilding and repair industry.

Key study findings include:

  • San Diego is the second largest recipient of defense procurement dollars in the U.S. 
  • A strong network of suppliers and access to customers are key reasons that 71 percent of firms have a favorable view of San Diego as a place to do business.
  • Defense contractor jobs have grown 6.3 percent over the last three years, and are expected to grow another 9.3 percent over the next year.
  • Since 2012, the majority of contract dollars received by the region were awarded by the Department of the Navy, each year awarding between 44 and 55 percent of total awards.
  • The majority of contract dollars were awarded to companies in the manufacturing industry, each year receiving anywhere between 47 and 68 percent of total contract dollars.


These resources provide companies, city planners, workforce agencies and economic development organizations better insights into how legislation like the bill signed into law last week can impact the San Diego community. The data has the potential to help companies prepare for new market opportunities and help communities prepare for changes in workforce demands, as has helped inform how EDC can better prioritize our limited resources in support of the region’s defense industry.

Following the successful execution of Propel San Diego’s phase one, the City of San Diego has been awarded a phase two grant for an additional $1.7 million. For more information, visit sdmac.org/propel.

Read the full study here.

 

February 9, 2018

On January 24, WTC San Diego partnered with the U.S. Department of Commerce to host a roundtable discussion on data protection and privacy regulation.

Beginning in May 2018, virtually all U.S. exporters to Europe will need to be compliant with the new EU General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). Regardless of the company, industry or sales market, there will be new requirements and stiff fines for companies in the case of non-compliance.

At this roundtable, Nasreen Djouini, policy advisor at the U.S. Department of Commerce, discussed important developments in the GDPR and introduced the EU-Swiss-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework – a mechanism that provides companies on both sides of the Atlantic a way to comply with data protection requirements when transferring personal data in support of transatlantic commerce.

Djouini also advised on the Cross-Border Privacy Rules (CBPR) System developed by Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). The CBPR is a mechanism that helps to bridge privacy regulation differences by providing a single framework for the exchange of personal information among participating economies in the APEC region.

Hosted by CBRE, the event was attended by more than 30 San Diego business executives from companies either planning to, or currently, conducting business overseas.

 

January 30, 2018

On the heels of EDC's 2017 U.K. trade mission, San Diego-based Edico Genome and Genomics England announced a new partnership to strengthen the accuracy and consistency of next-generation sequencing (NGS) data analysis in Genomics England’s Rare Disease Pilot. The partnership will support Genomics England in making NGS the standard of care across the U.K.’s National Health Service in 2018.

Specifically, the partnership will focus on the analysis pipeline − improving alignment and variant calling of whole-genome sequencing data. Genomics England selected DRAGEN for its industry leading accuracy and speed, enabling the organization to accelerate analysis of large clinical genomic datasets.

Read more from Edico Genome.

January 22, 2018

More than 230 regional bids later, Seattle-based tech giant Amazon released the top 20 cities that will proceed in the battle for its second North American headquarters (HQ2). San Diego/Chula Vista did not make the cut.
 
In response, EDC president and CEO Mark Cafferty released the following statement:
 
“While disappointed San Diego/Chula Vista did not advance, we are not at all surprised. We knew that this would be a long-shot based on geography and incentive options, but we also know that as a region, San Diego can most definitely compete with others in terms of talent, entrepreneurship, innovation and quality of life.
 
We are proud of the fact that Amazon is already expanding in San Diego and will employ up to 500 developers and engineers in its UTC office. And we are proud of the partnership and collaborative spirit of the more than 20 organizations and municipalities that contributed to our regional proposal. We know that other positive things will come from this process and we continue to view 2018 with great excitement, optimism and focus.”
 
This and more from U.S. News, Business Insider, and Xconomy.
January 19, 2018

Each month the California Employment Development Department (EDD) releases industry data for the prior month. This edition of San Diego’s Economic Pulse covers December 2017 data, including unemployment, new business establishments and job postings.
 
Highlights include:
  • The region’s unemployment rate was 3.3 percent in December, unchanged from November. The unemployment rate is nearly one full percentage point below the December 2016 rate of 4.1 percent, and the lowest since December 2000.
  • Most jurisdictions saw no change in their unemployment rates from the month prior. However, four jurisdictions did see small increases of 0.1 percent.
  • The labor force shed 7,700 workers in December, after adding 4,800 workers in November. The month’s decline effectively halved the year’s gain, which ended up 7,800.
  • Year-over-year, construction growth outpaced all other key sectors, up 4.3 percent.
 
Read the full Economic Pulse here.
January 2, 2018

"Businesses need to act together to attract talent" was originally published in The Business Journals, authored by EDC president and CEO Mark Cafferty.

With U.S. unemployment hitting a 17-year low late last year, competition for talent has become increasingly fierce for businesses across the country. 
 
Part of a company's challenge in attracting talent, however, is working with the broader business community in its city, region or state to ensure that it is not only a place where people want to work, but also a place where people want to live.
 
While focusing internally to find and hire employees, companies must also work with each other — even with their competitors — and public or municipal entities to help foster a favorable quality of life and career mobility that will attract talented workers.
 
Companies must communicate with clear, consistent messaging in a united front to evoke authenticity and a sense of community that is appealing to today’s top talent. 
 
Improving perceptions to attract top talent 
Some cities and states have an abundance of career opportunities available but lack the public perception that these jobs exist. Often this divide boils down to a lack of available resources for businesses to tout their local economy.
 
Talent attraction has become about telling a region’s story, not just selling a company’s individual offerings. 
 
An influx of high-paying jobs in a region — especially at publicly-facing brands —must be met with the skilled talent required to fill them. Here in San Diego, the region has a high share of the nation’s life sciences and tech jobs, but research recently revealed many senior-level HR managers are struggling to find talent because of the perception of available opportunities in the area.
 
To address this issue, EDC has launched a campaign to communicate the region’s unique position in the global market, its lifestyle offerings and its community of people looking to change the world. 
 
The campaign — San Diego: Life. Changing. — serves to tell authentic stories of San Diegans who have discovered the region as not only as a great place to live, but also a place with ample career opportunity, most especially at impact-driven companies and organizations. Through a related work-live-play website, SDlifechanging.org, individuals curious about the region have access to information on its top industries and growing companies, lifestyle amenities and more....
 
Read the full byline online here.