Skip to Content
The Big Picture San Diego Blog


Economic Drivers

December 18, 2017


Ensuring Everyone has a seat at the table

A prosperous San Diego means an economy that works for all residents. Despite record low unemployment rates and a flourishing innovation economy, San Diego, and many other regions, have seen a rise in economic inequities. And if not addressed, this rise will have dire economic consequences. 
 
It started with taking an uncomfortable - yet honest - look at how San Diego can better address strategies for inclusive economic growth and how economic development professionals in San Diego can better address these strategies that impact both businesses and workers.

EDC's still has a long way to go in its mission to help make the competitiveness case for inclusion, but we've come a long way. See more in our timeline below:

 
  • APRIL 2016 - THE RISING TIDE
    A rising tide hasn’t lifted all boats, and sometimes it take a former Navy  Admiral to make that observation At EDC’s Annual Dinner, Jim Zortman takes over as EDC chair, and challenges uss to re-think economic development and engage communities that have been historically left out of the conversation.  
  • DECEMBER 2016 - A BROOKINGS INSTITUTION INCLUSIVE LEARNING LAB
    San Diego wasn’t the only place having these conversations. DC, on behalf of San Diego, was selected as one of three regions from around the country to participate in a learning lab, spearheaded by the Brookings Institution, focused on inclusive economic development and how organizations engage in this complex topic. EDC convened partners in the community who were embedded in these issues to come around the table.
  • JULY 2017 - DEFINING THE PROBLEM
    With the help of the Brookings Institution, EDC completed a narrative to make the competitiveness case for inclusive growth. Economic inclusion is more than just ‘corporate social responsibility’; it’s an economic development imperative.
    In the narrative, EDC highlights key stats about this challenge that frames inclusion as a competitiveness issue: that our demographics are shifting and our ‘innovation economy’ workforce is not reflective of our population; that the educational attainment gap in minority populations will exacerbate company workforce shortages in STEM fields; and that small businesses are not able to compete to grow. All of this is happening at a time when housing prices are at an all-time high and our population’s ability to afford to live here is shrinking.
  • SEPTEMBER 2017 - A LEADERSHIP TRIP TO LOUISVILLE
    EDC took a group of business leaders to Louisville, KY to understand how their region addresses challenges related to inclusion. In Louisville, where socioeconomic and demographic challenges have come into everyday conversation, our group learns to be bold and be direct when addressing these issues. It’s only when everyone can talk about the challenges that they can be addressed, in full. 
  • 2018 - WHAT'S NEXT
    As the region's innovation economy continues to grow, EDC is incorporating lessons learned into its own strategic plan. The plan is three-fold: 1) Developing San Diego's population to meet the region's talent needs 2) Helping SMEs better compete and 3) Highlighting issues of affordability that prevent talent from staying in, or coming to the region. 

We're just getting started. Stay tuned for more in 2018.

December 1, 2017

The California Competes Tax Credit (CCTC) is an income tax credit program available to businesses expanding in or relocating to California. Created in 2014 by the California legislature and overseen by Governor Jerry Brown’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz), Cal Competes offers variable amounts of tax credits to companies based on commitments to hire full time employees over a span of five years. In 2017, 293 California companies were awarded more than $210 million in tax credits.

Since the CCTC program inception, more than 110 San Diego companies have received $61.1 million in tax credits tied to the creation of more than 8,433 jobs. San Diego consistently ranks among the top three metros in the state for tax credit distribution, with 2017 as no exception. This year, 37 San Diego companies were awarded nearly $24 million (11.35 percent of total) in tax credits in exchange for the creation of 2,000 new jobs, $200 million capital investments and $500 million in wages paid over the next five years. San Diego received the third highest percentage of credits in the state, behind only Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Credit recipients span the region from Oceanside down to Chula Vista, representing businesses large and small across a variety of industries including biotech, software development, manufacturing, defense and more. Of all 37 San Diego companies in 2017, medical device manufacturer NuVasive was awarded the largest credit of $3 million for its commitment to create 245 new jobs over the next five years. Additional recipients in 2017 include Ballast Point spin out Cutwater Spirits ($2M credit for 64 jobs); game developer Psyonix ($1.2M credit for 69 jobs) and LED manufacturer Hyperikon ($975K credit for 75 jobs).

During the CCTC application process, companies are classified as either large or small. Throughout the 2017 rounds, San Diego small companies performed particularly well compared to other metros. Of all credits distributed in the small business category in 2017, 21.2 percent came to San Diego firms – the second highest of all California metros. San Diego small businesses received nearly $8 million in credits, with plans to create 400 jobs in the region over the next five years.

San Diego’s large companies performed admirably as well, receiving $16 million – or 9.2 percent – of the total credits awarded in the large business category, coming in third for highest percent of credits within the category.

The next application round will look to award $100 million in credits and will open January 2, 2018 and close January 22, 2018. Just before the round opens, GO-Biz host a free workshop hosted on Friday, December 8. Businesses interested in applying can register to attend any of the workshops and receive customized technical assistance from GO-Biz staff.

For additional questions about how to complete a competitive application, please feel free to contact Jesse Gipe at jg@sandiegobusiness.org.

November 17, 2017

Understanding our economy begins with strong data. Lucky for us, November means lots of it. 
 
A little about the research products released this week:
 

Economic Snapshot: San Diego added 16,100 jobs year-over-year

Following an increase in employment during Q2 2017, total nonfarm employment fell 5,800, or 0.4 percent, in Q3. Job gains in the private sector helped offset some of the losses seen in local and state government. Compared to a year ago, total nonfarm employment was up 16,100, or 1.1 percent. Meanwhile, San Diego’s unemployment rate declined by 0.2 percentage points in Q3, and remained 0.6 percentage points below California’s rate and was on par with the national rate.

Key findings from the snapshot:

  • San Diego closed Q3 with an unemployment rate of 4.1 percent, the 17th lowest among top U.S. metros and below the state rate of 4.7 percent.
  • With the holiday season approaching, retail trade recorded the largest gain, adding 1,400 jobs during the quarter. Healthcare and social assistance continued to grow, adding 1,200 jobs.
  • VC dollars in the region increased 25.1 percent compared to the previous quarter.

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 July to September (Q3) 2017.

 

Economic Pulse:

Each month the California Employment Development Department (EDD) releases industry data for the prior month. This edition of San Diego’s Economic Pulse covers October 2017 data, including unemployment, new business establishments and job postings.

Key Findings from pulse:

  • The region’s unemployment rate fell to 3.7 percent in October, from a revised 4.1 percent in September, and is a full percentage point below the October 2016 rate of 4.7 percent.
  • Nearly every jurisdiction in San Diego saw a decline in unemployment. Imperial Beach saw the largest decline for a second consecutive month.
  • Year-over-year, real estate, rental and leasing growth outpaced all other sectors, up 5.6 percent.

 

October 20, 2017
Each month the California Employment Development Department (EDD) releases industry data for the prior month. This edition of San Diego’s Economic Pulse covers September 2017 data, including unemployment, new business establishments and job postings.
 
Highlights include:
  • The region’s unemployment rate fell to 4.1 percent in September from a revised 4.7 percent in August, and is below the September 2016 rate of 4.6 percent.
  • Every jurisdiction in San Diego experienced a decline in its unemployment rate. The largest drops occurred in the cities of El Cajon and Imperial Beach.
  • The labor force grew in September, for the fourth consecutive month, adding 8,600 workers. 
  • Year-over-year, real estate, rental and leasing job growth outpaced all other sectors, up 7.9 percent.
 
Read San Diego's Economic Pulse here.
October 11, 2017

Last week, thousands of MFG Day events were held across the country to celebrate modern manufacturing. In San Diego, more than 50 companies participated in events - from facility tours to regional resource fairs - to showcase a wide range of job opportunities. This included a private tour of Samsung’s maquiladora in Tijuana, which employs upwards of 6,000 workers, alongside Rep. Susan Davis and more than 20 EDC partners. Fun fact: San Diego’s MFG day is one of the only bi-national celebrations in the country. The week culminated at EDC’s annual breakfast event, attended by more than 200 local business and civic leaders.

The goal of MFG day is to change public perception of the sector, and introduce people to manufacturing careers. Even though San Diego has a smaller concentration of manufacturing employment than the national average, the region is home to nearly 110,000 manufacturing jobs, spread across more than 300 industries1. These are not just team assembler and machinist roles; there are hundreds of unique occupations from finance to marketing to engineering. And these are good paying jobs. In 2016, the average annual salary exceeded $79,000 in San Diego2.

Dismissiveness toward manufacturing comes from a track record of employment declines that began well before the Great Recession, in large part due to increases in automation. However, with a focus on advanced manufacturing, San Diego has fared much better. Since 2007, when the recession began, manufacturing employment declined 11.2 percent nationwide. During that same time, manufacturing in San Diego grew 3.2 percent, adding more than 3,400 jobs3.

This is because manufacturing in San Diego is driven by the innovation economy that makes aircrafts, medical equipment and semiconductors. Of course, there are also apparel makers, plastic producers and world-famous breweries. But the top eight manufacturing industries, accounting for more than 61,000 manufacturing jobs, are all in advanced industries such as aerospace and biotech4.  

Strategic development of San Diego's defense and life science clusters, as well as the strong partnership with Baja California, has helped the region’s manufacturing sector remain relevant and competitive.

1-4EMSI 2017.3.

September 21, 2017

EDC officially launched San Diego: Life. Changing., a campaign to raise San Diego’s profile and attract and retain top STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) talent in the region. SDlifechanging.org includes information about living and working in the San Diego region, and will soon include a digital toolkit to assist companies in their recruitment efforts.                          

The campaign was launched at a specially-themed San Diego: Life. Changing Night at the Padres game on September 19, with more than 15,000 in attendance.

San Diego: Life. Changing. communicates San Diego’s evolving value proposition, driven by companies and people looking to change the world and upgrade their quality of life.                                                                                                               

“We’re not Boston, New York, San Francisco or Los Angeles. And we don’t want to be,” said Mark Cafferty, president & CEO, San Diego Regional EDC. “This campaign was developed by San Diego…and for San Diego to communicate the unique opportunities and experiences our region offers to companies and employees alike.”

Extensive research proves that talent fuels economic growth, drives corporate decision-making and fuels entrepreneurship. If San Diego wants to remain economically competitive, it must continue to attract a talent pool that appeals to global companies.

The launch of the campaign is the culmination of Phase I of a year-long effort to refine a cohesive identity to attract and retain STEAM talent in the region. Hailing from life sciences and tech industries, nearly 100 companies with a San Diego presence have joined the “San Diego Brand Alliance” including Illumina, Human Longevity, Inc., SONY, ViaSat, Intuit – as well as many startups – and have provided feedback on potential recruiting tools and other San Diego assets.

“San Diego holds such tremendous opportunities for candidates, yet when recruiting top talent from outside of the region we still encounter the false perception that career options here are somewhat limited,” said Melinda Del Toro, senior vice president of People & Culture, ViaSat and vice-chair, San Diego Brand Alliance. “The San Diego: Life. Changing. campaign reinforces the message we’ve been telling candidates for years: San Diego is a dynamic, rich environment with incredible opportunities to have both the career and life you want, that you just don't find in other regions.”

Over the next two years, San Diego: Life. Changing. will continue to build out SDlifechanging.org to include full company profiles, a video library and additional recruiting tools for companies. In 2018, EDC will look to partner with local organizations to deploy the campaign in specific markets across the country.

Learn more at SDlifechanging.org and follow along at #SDlifechanging. San Diego-based companies can request access to the recruiting toolkit online here.

 

Please see press kit and FAQs for additional information about the campaign. 

September 15, 2017

Each month the California Employment Development Department (EDD) releases industry data for the prior month. This edition of San Diego’s Economic Pulse covers August 2017 data, including unemployment, new business establishments and job postings.

Highlights include:

  • The region’s unemployment rate was 4.7 percent in August, unchanged from a revised 4.7 percent in July.
  • The unemployment rate was unchanged in every jurisdiction, with the exception of Carlsbad, which increased by 0.1 percentage points in August.
  • The region’s labor force grew again in August, adding 300 workers during the month.
  • Year-over-year, real estate, rental and leasing growth outpaced all other sectors, up 7.1 percent; an increase of 2,000 jobs.

Read San Diego's Economic Pulse here.

August 18, 2017

Each month the California Employment Development Department (EDD) releases industry data for the prior month. This edition of San Diego’s Economic Pulse covers July 2017 data, including unemployment, new business establishments and job postings.
 
Highlights include:
  • The unemployment rate increased 0.4 percentage points to 4.7 percent in July.
  • Unemployment increased in 19 out of 19 jurisdictions. Imperial Beach saw the largest increase of 0.6 percentage points.
  • The region’s labor force grew again in July, adding 12,500 workers during the month.
  • Year-over-year, real estate, rental and leasing growth outpaced all other sectors, up 4.9 percent; an increase of 1,400 jobs.  
 
Read the Economic Pulse here.
August 17, 2017

In partnership with the Cyber Center of Excellence and SPAWAR, EDC coordinated a two-day tour for 40 DoD Chief Information Officers (CIOs) from the U.S. and allied nations. The tour is part of an annual best practices trip led by the U.S. to help military and intelligence agency CIOs learn about new commercial technologies in cyber, artificial intelligence, machine learning and nanotechnology. This was the first time that this group has selected San Diego for a best practices trip, typically traveling to Silicon Valley, Boston and New York instead.

The San Diego tour kicked off with an hour and half long conversation hosted at Qualcomm by their CEO Steve Mollenkopf, discussing the impacts of 5G technology. This was followed by a whirlwind of technical presentations from local companies AttackIQ, Qubitekk, Websense, Illumina, FICO, KnuEdge and iboss along with leadership from UC San Diego. Several companies who presented are now working on new projects with key agencies as a direct result of this trip.

 

August 16, 2017

Following seasonal declines in employment during Q1, San Diego experienced an increase in employment during Q2 2017. The region added 14,100 jobs - a 0.98 percent increase in employment during the quarter. Year-over-year, the region added 27,800 jobs, increasing employment by nearly 2.0 percent.

Meanwhile, San Diego’s unemployment rate rose by 0.1 percentage points during Q2, but is 0.6 percentage points lower than the same period a year ago.

Other key findings from EDC's Quarterly Economic Snapshot include:

  • San Diego closed Q2 2017 with an unemployment rate of 4.3 percent, the 15th lowest among top U.S. metros and below the national and state rates of 4.5 and 4.9 percent, respectively.
  • With the summer tourist season approaching, the leisure and hospitality sector recorded the largest quarterly gain, adding 9,300 jobs during Q2.
  • The median home price rose 7.3 percent from the previous quarter, and is now up 8.0 percent compared to a year ago.
  • VC dollars in the region increased 14.9 percent compared to the previous quarter.

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 release includes data from April to June (Q2) 2017.

Read it here.