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The Big Picture San Diego Blog


Economic Development 101

February 8, 2016

By Shea Benton, economic development manager 

Late January, EDC ventured into new territory by hosting ExploreSD, a three-day showcase of San Diego’s economy and talented workforce for site selection consultants from all over the country. Our goals were twofold: 1) pilot a replicable multi-day tour of the best companies our region has to offer to tell the San Diego story; and 2) proactively promote our region’s unique economy in an effort to generate new business attraction opportunities.

Over the past year, our team has engaged with a select group of consultants whose business is to compare and contrast regions for their clients, based on a gamut of criteria from real estate and utility costs to talent and quality of life, in order to help companies decide where to expand or relocate. As you can imagine, many in this industry have an aversion to California due to perceived and real barriers to doing business in the state. EDC’s strategy was to sell the San Diego region based on our thriving innovation economy, talented workforce, collaborative relationship with local and state government and unmatched quality of life.

Day 1: Joined by Mark Field, CTO of Thermo Fisher Scientific, Melissa Floca, director of the Center for US-Mexican Studies at UCSD, and Erik Caldwell, director of economic development for the City of San Diego, we kicked off day 1 with an overview of our mega-region. The conversation turned quickly to cross-border manufacturing and our proximity to Mexico, an asset previously overlooked by this group. After a multi-hour discussion, the stage was set for the next two days of company tours.

Day 2: Starting with a visual overview of downtown from the top of Diamondview Tower, our morning featured tours of Red Door Interactive, ESET and EvoNexus incubator. This portion of the event showcased San Diego’s downtown, with visit to both tech startups and established companies. The afternoon included trips to three companies with some of the most unique stories in San Diego: Illumina, iBoss Cybersecurity and BD/Carefusion. Not only are these three of the most recognizable names in the region, but they also have something else in common: they all explored expanding or relocating to other regions, only to increase their presence in San Diego.

Day 3: We began our final day in North County with tours of General Atomics and D&K Engineering to help these individuals better asses our advanced manufacturing industry. After a quick lunch at Stone Brewing Bistro & Gardens - a necessary stop for anyone visiting the region that doubled as a highlight of our craft beer industry - we explored all 5 cities along the 78 corridor. With stops at CSU San Marcos, a drive through Ocean Ranch Business Park and Carlsbad giants ViaSat and Thermo Fisher Scientific, we finished out our tour strong.

One thing was clear throughout the tour – our region’s innovation economy, talented workforce, and quality of life permeated every discussion in an organic way. With the help of an articulate group of business leaders and San Diego’s leading industry and real estate experts, we effectively articulated the benefits of business location in our region over peer metros including Austin, Denver and San Francisco. Moving forward, we intend to replicate and use this style of tour as an effective method to tell the San Diego story. 

February 4, 2016
By Nikia Clarke, director of World Trade Center San Diego
 
Konichiwa from Osaka!
 
Given the deep linkages between our regions, it is fitting that the World Trade Center San Diego 2016 calendar of trade and investment activities begins with a targeted focus on Japan. Sean Barr sent his reflections from Tokyo last week, where he was supporting a UC San Diego Technology Symposium and representing our region at an international nanotechnology and robotics show.
 
And this week I am traveling across the country with SelectUSA, the federal government’s foreign investment attraction agency. Japan is the second largest source of foreign direct investment to the United States, and more than 800,000 Americans are employed by US subsidiaries of Japanese firms. San Diego is a microcosm of this larger relationship, with companies like Takeda, Kyocera, Ajinomoto, and Murata employing thousands of San Diegans.  
 
On Monday we kicked off the Roadshow in Tokyo with HE Caroline Kennedy, Ambassador to Japan; Ambassador Vinai Thummalapally, Select USA Executive Director; and Mr. Tatsuhiro Shindo, Executive Vice President of JETRO for the signing of an historic MOI. We then moved on to Nagoya and Osaka, meeting with groups of potential investors at each stop.  
 

Representatives from the head offices of Japanese companies that have made long term investments in our region joined me on the road. Their eagerness to support our efforts here and tell their own San Diego story to their peers is a testament to the deep ties between our two economies.
 
In Tokyo, Toshitake Kobayashi from Takeda Pharmaceuticals joined me to speak to the group of 200 potential investors about how collaboration between Takeda California and Takeda Japan drives innovation in drug discovery for the firm as a whole. This is why Takeda closed its Bay Area facility and consolidated operations in San Diego. Takeda is Asia’s largest drug manufacturer, employing more than 30,000 people worldwide.
 
This emphasis on innovation was echoed by Naoki Sekizawa from Denso, a global manufacturer of parts and technology for every major auto maker from Toyota to GM. He explained to a group of 60 investors in Nagoya that Denso’s operations in Vista – located along the 78 corridor – remain the multinational’s North American research headquarters because of the talented workforce available in ‘telecom valley.’ 
 
Naoki Mori, from Nitto Denko, a water technology company that acquired Oceanside firm Hydranautics in 1987, joined me in Osaka to share his perspective on the advantages of our region. He emphasized the premier universities and research institutions as we spoke to another packed room of over 100 investors interested in the US market. 
 
Three companies from diverse industries delivering the same message: San Diego’s innovation ecosystem – with its strong research institutions and top-tier talent - is a world-class asset. And yet, it is clear that in terms of maximizing these assets, we could be doing more. Out of over a dozen states and metros participating in the roadshow, San Diego is the only one without a Japan trade office staffed with dedicated investment personnel. 
 
Our investors and partners have done tremendous work over the last few years to generate a comprehensive trade and investment plan for the region. And our Port, Airport and City are driving the execution of that plan through the revitalization of World Trade Center San Diego. That kind of regional coalition building is both rare and formidable, and for that we are grateful. 
 
So you will be hearing much more about Japan in the coming months, as we prepare to host several incoming delegations of Japanese companies in advanced industries. And you will also be hearing from Auckland, Sydney, London, Toulon, and Stockholm, as we work to grow exports to, investment from, and relationships with the markets that matter most to San Diego’s growth, prosperity and resilience.
 
Big thanks and kanpai to the San Diego leadership of Takeda, Denso, and Hydranautics for coordinating support on the road, and for the language lessons too.
 

January 28, 2016

By Sean Barr, senior vice president of economic development

Greetings from Tokyo, Japan. This week, behind a newly relaunched World Trade Center San Diego, EDC kicks off its 2016 international program. Our goals are clear – grow exports and position the region as a choice location for investment and science and technology partnerships.  

I am here in Tokyo the next few days with the Jacobs School of Engineering at UC San Diego. From day one, we were met with great enthusiasm for expanded partnerships with the University of Tokyo, University of Osaka, and private industry leaders such as Mitsui, Honda and the Japan Venture Capital Association, to name a few.

Japan represents San Diego's largest trade and investment market, making the relationship key to our economic growth. Tokyo alone accounts for nearly 25 percent of all foreign owned establishments in the region. With operations in San Diego, Japanese companies such as Kyocera International, Sony, Ajinomoto, and Takeda are some of the most active and community-minded companies, employing hundreds of San Diegans. Japan leads the way as an export market, consistently ranking among the top five most important markets for San Diego. From water technology, to microelectronics, to tourism, to telecommunications to renewable energy and craft beer, Japan punches way above its weight in the consumption of San Diego products and services. 

The relationship, however, is not one-sided. A number of organizations in San Diego have long recognized the importance of Japan to our economy, with some committing to a fulltime presence abroad, including Biocom, the San Diego Tourism Authority, the San Diego International Airport, the Port of San Diego, SDSU and of course, UC San Diego. We are looking to build on, amplify and support their work to advance the region's trade interests. 

Leading with our universities and science and engineering talent, San Diego is successfully attracting attention to our global innovation economy. In partnership with Al Pisano, Dean of the Jacobs School of Engineering at UC San Diego, EDC co-hosted a symposium this week for more than 30 Japanese investors. As investors traveled from Osaka, Kyoto, and throughout Tokyo to attend, it was evident that San Diego’s technology and engineering prowess has garnered global attention, with many inquiring about the region’s business climate and international presence.

 

The global outreach continues next week, through the end of April, and beyond. Next stop: Tokyo (return visit), Nagoya, Osaka, Auckland, Sydney, London, Toulon and Stockholm. We will certainly keep you updated from the road. 

 

January 22, 2016

Phil Blair

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“San Diego’s labor market experienced a very positive year in 2015, despite a slower than usual December. The region added tens of thousands of jobs since the previous year, primarily in high-wage and productive industries. This drove thousands of people back to the labor force and resulted in 20,000 fewer unemployed.”
Phil Blair, Executive Officer
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.

Highlights

The California Employment Development Department (EDD) released statewide county employment data today for the December 2015 period. This month’s data allows for a complete picture for year 2015, and shows that San Diego’s economy grew at an accelerated pace in 2015 compared to recent years.

The unemployment rate closed the year at 4.7 percent in December, the lowest since June 2007. The rate is down 0.1 points from the previous month and 0.8 points from the previous year. The San Diego rate remained much lower than the statewide unemployment rate of 5.8 percent. When averaged over the entire year, the unemployment rate closed at 5.0 percent for 2015, down substantially from the 2014 average of 6.4 percent. The 2015 annual average is the lowest since the recession. Meanwhile, the annual average labor force was up 17,700 from 2014, while unemployment claims were down 20,300, which indicates a healthy rate drop.

Unemployment Rate

The region’s year-over-year employment for December grew below the 2015 average. San Diego’s total non-farm employment grew by 37,500 jobs from December 2014 to December 2015—2.7 percent growth. San Diego’s growth rate was again much higher than the 1.9 percent national rate. In total, the San Diego region averaged 3.1 percent annual growth in 2015, compared to only 2.3 percent in 2014. This was the highest annual percent growth rate since 2000, as the region added 41,400, the most jobs added since 1999.

The private sector drove employment growth in 2015, as private employment accounted for 91.7 percent of all employment growth over the year. The total private sector grew by 3.4 percent on average in 2015, out-pacing the private U.S. growth rate of 2.1 percent.

Total Nonfarm Employment

Private growth was driven largely by service providers, but goods producers experienced a particularly strong year. Manufacturers and construction companies drove 15.9 percent of private job growth in 2015, and finished the year strong. The two industries added a combined 6,000 jobs in 2015, the most since 2004. The manufacturing industry in particular added the most jobs and experienced the highest annual percent growth rate since 1998. The boom in the construction market is likely a response to demand pressures in the commercial and residential real estate markets, as quality space is becoming increasingly scarce, according to CBRE MarketView reports. The growth in manufacturing and wholesale trade are putting pressure on the industrial market in particular, as the industrial vacancy rate in Q4 2015 was at the lowest ever recorded.

YoY

Professional, scientific, and technical (PST) services, which is strongly associated with the region’s innovation economy, grew by 6.6 percent in 2015, which was the highest growth rate among major industries in the region (tied with construction). The 2015 growth rate was the highest posted since 2005 in the industry. PST services accounted for more than one fifth of all private annual job growth in San Diego. Comparatively, the national PST sector grew by only 3.6 percent in 2015. Scientific research and development services, a subsector of PST that represents many cleantech and life science companies, grew by 5.2 percent.

Other key drivers for growth included the region’s healthcare sector, which added 7,000 jobs and accounted for roughly one fifth of the region’s private job growth in 2015. Tourism experienced another seasonal hit in December, but the annual average was strong. The industry added 6,500 jobs in 2015, a 3.7 percent growth rate. Growth slowed in the latter half of the year, particularly in food service and drinking places, which was driving higher growth earlier in 2015.

Contributions

With a full year of 2015 data on the books, it was a very positive year for San Diego’s economy. The national economy showed tepid growth throughout the year, while San Diego consistently looked much stronger than the country as a whole. Key industries like manufacturing, construction, health care, and PST services had impressive, and by some measures, record years. While concerns around decreases in federal spending for science and defense will likely thwart some expectations for 2016, other factors like the Department of Defense’s shifting focus toward cybersecurity and national trends toward manufacturing re-shoring could prove promising for San Diego. Given these trends, future outcomes remain largely uncertain, but San Diego’s economy appears well positioned for growth through 2016.

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.

This report was performed with assistance from the CBRE research team in San Diego. 

December 18, 2015

Phil Blair

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“When an influx of people join the labor force and begin seeking employment, you generally see a lag before they find jobs. In October, a substantial amount of people joined the labor force, but reported as unemployed. In November, it appears as though those people found jobs, as we saw no change in the labor force, but a significant reduction in unemployment.”
Phil Blair, Executive Officer
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.

Highlights

The California Employment Development Department (EDD) released statewide county employment data today for the November 2015 period. This month’s data indicates that San Diego is showing strong signs of growth in the local economy as we near the end of 2015.

The unemployment rate fell to 4.8 percent in November, down 0.2 points from the previous month. In October, the region experienced a large jump in the labor force without a large jump in employment, which caused the unemployment rate to rise back to 5.0 percent. The labor force stayed virtually the same in November, but higher employment and lower unemployment brought the rate back down to 4.8 percent. The number of unemployed fell by 2,000 from October to November, indicating that the fall in unemployment was healthy and not due to a reduction in the labor force.

The rate is now 1.2 points lower than the previous year and on par with the national unemployment rate at 4.8. The region remains much lower than the statewide unemployment rate of 5.7 percent. The unemployment rate is now expected to end the year in the mid-four percent range in December, resulting in an annual average of about 5.0 percent for 2015, down substantially from the 2014 average of 6.4 percent.

Unemployment Rate

The region’s overall year-over-year employment grew, but below the 2015 average of 3.1 percent. San Diego’s total non-farm employment grew by 37,800 jobs from November 2014 to November 2015—2.7 percent growth. San Diego’s growth rate was again much higher than the 1.9 percent national rate. The San Diego region is still expected to average 3.1 percent annual growth in 2015, compared to only 2.3 percent in 2014.

Year-over-year private sector growth continued to drive the economy, as private employment drove 92.1 percent of all employment growth. The total private sector grew by 3.1 percent, out-pacing the private U.S. growth rate of 2.2 percent. Private growth was driven largely by service providers, but goods producers experienced a particularly strong month. Goods producers like manufacturers and construction companies drove 24.1 percent of annual private job growth. This was due to both strong growth in those industries and uncharacteristically weak growth in service providing industries like professional and business services and trade.

Total Nonfarm Employment

From November 2014 to November 2015, the manufacturing industry added 2,400 jobs—a 2.5 percent growth rate. The ship and boat building industry continued to grow at an outstanding rate of 10.3 percent. Meanwhile, the construction industry added 6,000 jobs and grew by 9.4 percent. Continued growth in goods producing industries remains a positive sign for the region, as these jobs tend to be accessible and pay above the median wage for the region.

Professional, Scientific, and Technical (PST) services, which is strongly associated with the region’s innovation economy, grew by 5.5 percent and was one of the highest growth industries in the region. PST services accounted for roughly one fifth of all private annual job growth in San Diego. The national PST sector grew by only 3.6 percent. Scientific research and development services, a subsector of PST that represents many cleantech and life science companies, grew at a relatively low 3.3 percent compared to previous months.

YoY

Other key drivers for growth included the region’s healthcare sector, which added 8,600 jobs and accounted for roughly one quarter of the region’s private job growth. Tourism experienced a major seasonal hit last month, but rebounded slightly in November. The industry added 1,100 jobs from the previous month and 3,700 overall since last November. The annual growth rate in the industry has slowed in the latter half of the year, but still growing, particularly in food service and drinking places.

November’s employment numbers included more positive signs for the region’s economy, particularly when compared to the year before. The region has 13,200 more people in the labor force, 17,000 fewer unemployed, and has added more than 37,000 jobs. The growth rates have slowed in recent months, which may be a reflection of slowing national trends, an indication of mounting issues in the economy, or a brief blip in an otherwise outstanding year. Annual growth rates have varied throughout the year, but have consistently remained above state and national trends, with growth concentrated in high-tech and high-wage sectors. With one month of data remaining in 2015, all signs point to a solid overall year for the region’s economy.

Contributions

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 10, 2015

 

A taste of San Diego.  During a Nov. 2014 trip to Munich, Mark Cafferty(L) and Ian Wendlandt (R- Chief of Staff, Stone) present Stone Beer to Munich Mayor Dieter Reiter. 

On tap this week: Another ‘first’ for San Diego. At a time when many San Diego breweries are going through acquisitions, Stone Brewing Co. is going global.

In 2014, EDC Investor Stone announced it would be the first American craft brewer to independently build, own and operate a brewery in Europe. And they chose Berlin, arguably the beer capital of the world (pre-San Diego beer reign, that is), as the place to do this. This week, Europeans got their first taste of these San Diego-influenced, Berlin-brewed Stone craft beers. The hop-centric craft beers made their debut at more than 40 locations throughout Germany, Belgium, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom.

This is a significant moment for craft beer internationally,” said Stone CEO & co-founder Greg Koch in a company statement. “We’ve worked long and hard to introduce our vision of bold, innovative craft beer to Europeans and that day has finally arrived.”

Stone is not just introducing great beer to the masses, but with it, is also giving foreign audiences a taste of San Diego. San Diego will benefit if more companies, not just in the beer industry, but in medical devices, software and other high impact industries, follow suite.  Global companies pay higher wages, are less likely to go out of business, increase productivity of the domestic market, and spur more efficient development of technology and R&D. In 2015, EDC launched its Go Global San Diego initiative to enable other San Diego companies to engage in global markets. And every time EDC travels internationally, it always brings Stone beer with it.

As Bruce Katz, a key EDC partner at the Brookings Institution, said, “You don’t export unless you are making a high-quality product that the rest of the world wants…And that’s the San Diego story.” Global interest has sparked a demand for San Diego beer and Stone is capitalizing on it. It’s our hope that other companies do the same. 

November 20, 2015

Phil Blair

Download a printable version

“San Diego’s economy is continuing to grow, despite the forthcoming headlines about the seasonal rise in the unemployment rate. Most importantly, the unemployment rate is a full percentage point lower than it was a year ago, our labor force numbers are showing signs of confidence, and the region has added more than 40,000 jobs since last October.”
Phil Blair, Executive Officer
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.

Highlights

The California Employment Development Department (EDD) released statewide county employment data today for the October 2015 period. This month’s data shows that after another a weak U.S. jobs report released earlier this month, San Diego showed some strong signs of growth, despite a rising unemployment rate.

The unemployment rate rose to 5.0 percent in October, up 0.4 points from September. The rate is still 1.0 points lower than the previous year, but now exceeds the U.S. rate of 4.8 percent. The California average rate also rose to 5.7, and San Diego remained lower than the state average.

San Diego’s rate rose both due to a small seasonal spike in persons who identified as unemployed, as well as a rise in the labor force. Employment also grew steadily over that period, but was offset by those who joined the labor force not finding jobs immediately. Oftentimes, new job seekers take several months to find employment. If larger numbers are truly joining the labor force due to confidence in the labor market, this could potentially explain the rise in unemployment in spite of solid job growth. This was compounded by the tourism industry experiencing a larger than normal seasonal decline, though large October declines are typical for the industry.

Unemployment Rate

Despite this small seasonal up-tick in the unemployment rate, the non-seasonal figures remained positive. There are still 15,700 fewer unemployed than there were a year ago—a 16.7 percent decline. Meanwhile, the labor force is up by 16,600, which may indicate growing signs of confidence in the labor market.

The region’s economy failed to reach the 3.0 percent annual growth figure for the fourth time in 2015, but still remained very close at 2.9 percent. San Diego’s total nonfarm employment grew by 40,200 jobs from October 2014 to October 2015. San Diego’s growth rate was again much higher than the 1.9 percent national rate. The San Diego region is still expected to average 3.1 percent annual growth in 2015, compared to only 2.3 percent in 2014.

Total Nonfarm Employment

Year-over-year private sector growth continued to drive the economy, as private employment drove 91.3 percent of all employment growth. The total private sector grew by 3.2 percent, out-pacing the private U.S. growth rate of 2.2 percent.

Professional, Scientific, and Technical (PST) services, which is strongly associated with the region’s innovation economy, grew by 7.0 percent and was one of the highest growth industries in the region. PST services accounted for more than one quarter of all private annual job growth in San Diego. The national PST sector grew by only 3.6 percent. Scientific research and development services, a subsector of PST that represents many cleantech and life science companies, showed solid growth at 4.6 percent.

Growth in goods-producing industries continued to be a bright spot in October, accounting for 13.6 percent of all private job growth. From October 2014 to October 2015, the manufacturing industry added 1,600 jobs. The ship and boat building industry continued to grow at an outstanding rate of 11.9 percent. Meanwhile, the construction industry added 3,500 jobs and grew by 5.3 percent. While the growth in these sectors is a bit slower than recent months, they are still overall exceeding the regional and national averages, and remain key drivers in the region’s economy.

YoY

Other key drivers for growth included the region’s healthcare sector, which added 8,900 jobs and accounted for 24.3 percent of the region’s private job growth. While tourism experienced a major seasonal hit, losing 4,300 jobs from last month, the industry added 5,200 jobs overall since last October. The annual growth number is slower than recent months, but the industry still contributed to more than 14 percent of the region’s annual job growth.

While the October jobs numbers for San Diego may not be as stellar as we’ve seen in recent months, the growth figures are still very positive. The region is far outpacing the state and national averages in terms of employment growth. More importantly, when we look at the region’s key economic drivers, the growth figures are outstanding. High wage industries like PST services, healthcare, and construction are driving employment growth as we enter the final quarter of 2015.

Contributions

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, 2015

In an effort to cement San Diego’s reputation as a world class innovation hub and help SMEs expand their global reach, Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer, San Diego Regional EDC and JPMorgan Chase & Co. awarded the MetroConnect Grand Prize to San Diego-based genomics startup Cypher Genomics. The Grand Prize winner was voted on by an audience of more than 100 people at the MetroConnect PitchFest. 

Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer said, “San Diego’s world-class economy grows from local ideas, startups and businesses that sprout into global companies. I’m proud to host MetroConnect, which not only helps strengthen our overall economy at its roots, but fosters and supports startups like Cypher Genomics at the local level. I hope that Cypher Genomics will continue captivate investment abroad in the same way that they’ve found success here at home. ”

Ashley Van Zeeland, co-founder & CEO, Cypher Genomics said, “Cypher is grateful to win the MetroConnect Grand Prize and to participate in the vibrant and innovative San Diego entrepreneurial community. This award will help us build collaborations around the globe with countries who can use our genome interpretation technology to uncover the genetic causes of rare diseases and cancer, which can inform new therapeutics and improve healthcare around the world.”

Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer said, “San Diego’s world-class economy grows from local ideas, startups and businesses that sprout into global companies. I’m proud to host MetroConnect, which not only helps strengthen our overall economy at its roots, but fosters and supports startups like Cypher Genomics at the local level. I hope that Cypher Genomics will continue captivate investment abroad in the same way that they’ve found success here at home. ”

Pharmaceutical manufacturer IriSys also took home the runner-up prize.

Brennon Crist, head of JPMorgan Chase’s Middle Market Commercial Banking Group in San Diego said, “JPMorgan Chase is delighted to recognize all of these outstanding San Diego businesses that have thoroughly embraced the region’s go-global vision. We hope the MetroConnect Prize Program will enable Cypher Genomics and IriSys to continue advancing their global strategy by connecting with potential customers in target international markets. Over time, this outreach can be a win not only for these companies, but for economic growth and job creation for the region.

Nikia Clarke, direct of World Trade Center San Diego said, “MetroConnect targets small and medium sized businesses like Cypher and Irisys because they are really the drivers of the regional economy. The more they export their products and technology, the more connected, competitive, and resilient San Diego becomes.”

Managed by San Diego Regional EDC, and presented by JPMorgan Chase, the MetroConnect Grand Prize offers $50,000 – $35,000 for the winner and $15,000 for the runner-up – to further aid these companies in foreign market expansion. In June, 15 San Diego companies were selected as finalists for the MetroConnect prize, and given $10,000 to pursue strategies to export in foreign markets. Over the course of four months, the 15 companies demonstrated their ability to export to foreign markets. A panel of judges consisting of representatives from  Biocom, CONNECT, Qualcomm Ventures, Quantum Designs, San Diego Regional EDC, Tech San Diego and Wireless Life Sciences Alliance reviewed companies’ accomplishments and goals as a means of selecting the top four finalists to present at the PitchFest: Applied Membranes, Aventyn, Cypher Genomics and IriSys.

A spin-out of the Scripps Research Institute, San Diego-based Cypher Genomics is a 13 person startup that’s revolutionizing the way we understand and deliver personalized healthcare. Through its technology, Cypher Genomics is able to rapidly sequence the human genome, enabling scientists and medical professionals to find individualized therapies to combat rare diseases. With the MetroConnect Prize, Cypher was able to partner with Genome England on its large-scale study to sequence 100,000 human genomes. 

With the $35,000 Grand Prize, Cypher will be exploring additional foreign markets, such as Saudi Arabia and Sweden, that are investing in population-scale genomics.  Because of this foreign activity, Cypher is able to boost product innovation, translating into further job creation and capital investment in the San Diego market.

Global engagement is essential if San Diego wants to catalyze its economy and workforce. The benefits of companies going global and engaging foreign markets are well-documented. According to the Brookings Institution, companies that are global pay their employees higher wages, are less likely to go out of business and spur more efficient development of technology and R&D.

November 3, 2015

Recently, EDC released its September Manpower Monthly Employment Report. Since then, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has released September 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.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • At 4.6 percent, San Diego’s unemployment rate ranked 9th among the 25 most populous U.S. metros.
  • From September 2014 to September 2015, San Diego's unemployment rate fell by -1.5 percentage points, which ranked 4th.
  • San Diego's total employment grew by 3.5 percent from September 2014 to September 2015, which ranked 2nd.
  • San Diego's employment in professional, scientific and technical services (PST) grew by 7.4 percentwhich ranked 2nd.
  • Manufacturing in San Diego grew by 2.6 percent from the previous year, the 4th highest growth rate.

[Unmployment Chart]

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently released employment data for the September 2015 period for all U.S. metro areas. At 4.6 percent, San Diego County’s unemployment rate fell by 1.5 points from this time last year. This was the 4th largest drop in the nation, among the 25 most populous U.S. metros, and the three metros with larger drops have the three highest unemployment rates. That fall put San Diego's rank at 9th among major U.S. metros and it remained below the U.S. overall rate of 4.9 percent.  

[Employment Chart]

When looking at employment growth, San Diego outpaced most of the nation. From September 2014 to September 2015, the region's employment grew by 3.5 percent, which ranked 2nd among the 25 most populous U.S. metros. The U.S. average growth rate was at only 1.9 percent. Growth has slowed substantially across the U.S. in the past few months, but San Diego has consistently outpaced the national employment growth this year and has been among the top competitive metros in the nation.

[PST Chart]

San Diego's innovation economy is largely driving the region's growth. The region is outpacing all other major metros in professional, scientific and technical services (PST) growth except San Francisco. PST is a sector of the economy very heavily associated with the region's innovation clusters. Much of the companies and employment in clusters like biotechnology, biomedical products, cleantech and information technology fall within the PST sector. Employment in the region's PST sector grew by 7.4 percent since last September, the 2nd most out of any metro shown here. This figure was double the U.S. average and far ahead of other top tech markets like Seattle, Boston, and New York, which is a positive sign for the state and region's key traded clusters.

[MFG Chart]

San Diego's manufacturing sector also led most of the nation. 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 September 2014 to September 2015, manufacturing employment grew by 2.6 percent. San Diego's manufacturing employment growth was more than triple the U.S. rate of 0.7 percent. The region recorded the 4th highest growth rate among major U.S. metros. Only Detroit, Riverside, and Portland showed stronger growth than San Diego.

So while many key peer metros and the nation as a whole show signs of slower growth, San Diego's economy continues to buck that trend. More importantly, critical sectors like PST and manufacturing are not only showing signs of growth, they're outpacing nearly all of the region's key peers.

EDC will be releasing the Manpower Employment Report with October 2015 data for San Diego on Friday, November 20thThank you to Manpower-SD for their ongoing support of EDC's employment trends research.

October 29, 2015

This is part of an ongoing series which will feature one company every week that received the MetroConnect Prize, presented by JPMorgan Chase


The digital health industry is on the brink of rapid growth.

One in five people in the world now own a smartphone. By 2016, the number of smartphone users worldwide will surpass 2 billion. Although most people are familiar with using smart phones to text message, check emails, or play games, the ubiquity of smartphone technology has allowed for transformative advances in many fields, not the least in healthcare and medicine. 

Entra Health, a San Diego-based mobile health IT company, capitalizes on smartphone technology to bring to patients and healthcare providers a system to monitor and communicate about patients’ health.

“We provide a suite of technology solutions and services,” said Richard C. Strobridge, CEO and co-founder of Entra Health, “[Our services] range from our own FDA Class II software platform through to our comprehensive one-stop shopping for remote patient monitoring, telemedicine and mobile health devices.”

Entra Health integrates wireless technology with healthcare needs. The company’s expertise in worldwide medical device regulations have also propelled their devices into an international standard.

“Foreign markets have always posed a unique strategic advantage for Entra Health,” said Strobridge. “Our strategy from the beginning was to get as many international regulatory approvals for our medical device product as possible.  This strategy has allowed us to become the de facto glucose meter for clinical trials worldwide.”

With the MetroConnect prize, Entra Health used the funds for sales development, regulatory submissions, patent development, and travel to develop business partnerships in South Korea, China, Australia, and Germany.

“We plan to continue with our strategy of strengthening our intellectual property position, complete platform licensing strategy in Australia, and complete regulatory submissions […] in Australia, Europe, and Mexico,” said Strobridge. “The MetroConnect prize has given us an added sense of pride and affirmation of Entra Health's core mission of keeping people healthier while decreasing the financial burden of chronic disease.”

The success of small- and medium-sized businesses is critical to the region’s future, and increasing their global reach is crucial to that success. Through the MetroConnect Prize, companies such as Entra Health received $10,000 grants to assist with their next step in going global.


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