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Economic Drivers

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 17, 2015

In 2015, San Diego’s economic impact spanned the globe.

From connecting with companies in Tokyo to premiering a “National Geographic” documentary in London, EDC collectively traveled nearly 60,000 miles this year – the equivalent of traveling around the globe twice.
This work is made possible by the strategic investment of more than 150 visionary companies and organizations that support EDC's economic development agenda. Click here to see EDC's year in review.

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

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“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 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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October 23, 2015

This is part of an ongoing series on the recipients of the MetroConnect Prize, presented by JPMorgan Chase, a grant awarded to 15 companies looking to expand into new foreign markets.


Over the past two decades, Asia has risen dramatically as a global economic powerhouse. With increased economic power, many Asian countries have also experienced increased population growth, increased household income, and higher life expectancy. 

Global companies are investing heavily in Asia in research and manufacturing, and while Asia was once seen as a place to outsource manufacturing and production, it is increasingly becoming a major R&D hub in its own right. Asia’s pharmaceutical industry is estimated to be worth hundreds of billions of dollars. A recent report by the Economic Intelligence Unit noted that regional pharmaceutical sales have reached $214 billion in 2010, and is expected to hit $386 billion in 2016.

The number of players in the global pharmaceutical industry is rising. However, there are still several barriers that prevent the industry from truly coming together.

IriSys, LLC, a San Diego-based contract pharmaceutical research and development and manufacturing company, aims to bridge the gap between Asia’s pharmaceutical firms and the U.S. market.

“We see the Asian markets, especially China and Japan, as areas where we can find new companies needing our services here in the U.S.,” said Gerald J. Yakatan, chairman and CEO of IriSys. “We are an important provider of services to biotech and pharmaceutical companies wishing to develop products to meet FDA standards in the United States. It is our view that drug discovery is becoming a world-wide effort, and that new drugs will emerge from improved basic drug discovery research occurring in Asia.”

With the richness of R&D efforts of Asian pharmaceutical companies, it is no wonder that the U.S. has now become the untapped market. IriSys is part of a globally collaborative movement that will expand access to pharmaceutical developments and enable companies to fulfill regulatory requirements in the U.S..

With the MetroConnect funds, IriSys plans to augment business development efforts in China and Japan.

“IriSys will be using the funds from the MetroConnect Award to further our on-going efforts to develop business in Asia,” said Yakatan.  “We have already translated our website into Mandarin, attended scientific conferences in both Japan and China, and will try to set up a business development office in Shanghai, China in 2016 to help create awareness of our capabilities.”

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 IriSys received $10,000 in grants to assist with their next step going global.

 


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October 16, 2015

This is part of an ongoing series on the recipients of the MetroConnect Prize, presented by JPMorgan Chase, a grant awarded to 15 companies looking to expand into new foreign markets.


Earlier this week, EDC released the Economic Impact of San Diego’s Research Institutions. The study found that the region’s non-profit research institutions impact roughly 37,000 jobs and have a combined economic impact of $4.6 billion. This equates to hosting 34 Comic-Cons or 33 U.S. Open Golf Championships every year.

 “When it comes to the strength of the region’s life sciences cluster, San Diego has long been a top competitor with other cities across the globe,” said Mark Cafferty, president and CEO of San Diego Regional EDC. “However, no other region has the strength and depth of San Diego's research institutions. As our recent study shows, San Diego-based research is not only leading the way in terms of scientific discovery, but it is also driving company growth and creating jobs.”

Although the industry affects jobs and provides a significant economic impact, it does not tell the whole story. The tech transfer and commercialization of the research produced at these institutions is significant to region’s strong life sciences cluster, ranking 4th as a global life sciences hub by Jones Lang LaSalle.

One prime example of this commercialization of technology is MetroConnect winner AirStrip’s wireless heart rate monitor system for babies and their mothers – Sense4Baby. The Sense4Baby platform was originally researched at the West Health Institute, who then licensed the technology to Sense4Baby, Inc. Then, in 2014, AirStrip acquired the assets of Sense4Baby and has since been featured in the Apple product launch to showcase how wireless devices like the Apple Watch can utilize AirStrip-developed platforms to enable doctors to remotely monitor patients.

“San Diego provides a perfect location to easily connect globally, and is known for many biotech startup companies,” said Alan Portela, CEO at AirStrip. “The region provides access to a number of world-class research institutes.”

The success of small 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 AirStrip received $10,000 grants to assist with their next step in going global.

“The MetroConnect prize funds provided to date are now being used by the AirStrip Sense4Baby team to help identify supply chain cost savings, and will be applied to raise the international profile of Sense4Baby over the long term,” said Portela. “The resulting economic effect was immediate, lowering the cost of assembling, packaging and shipping the final product by 90%. In addition, the funds have been earmarked for language translation of the Sense4Baby page on the AirStrip website and of funding the translation of its Sense4Baby collateral into Dutch, French and Chinese for use by its international sales and distribution partners.

Since the acquisition of Sense4Baby, AirStrip has announced distribution agreements with partners in the U.S., Europe, Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. It is further targeting China and the Netherlands.


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October 16, 2015

Phil Blair

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“The September employment report was even better than expected, as the regional economy looks to be picking up speed toward the end of 2015. We saw a disappointing national jobs report released earlier this month, but it was just the opposite in San Diego, with outstanding job growth driven by our construction, manufacturing, and technology sectors.”
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 September 2015 period. This month’s data shows that after another weak U.S. jobs report released earlier this month, San Diego showed more strong signs of growth led by important traded sectors and sectors with high-wages.

The unemployment rate fell to 4.6 percent in September, which is the lowest it has been since June 2007. The rate is 1.5 points lower than the previous year and 0.5 points lower than the previous month. The California and U.S. average rates also fell to 5.5 and 4.9 percent, respectively, but San Diego remained lower than the state and national averages.

San Diego’s rate fell both due to a large drop in persons who identified as unemployed, as well as a small seasonal drop in the labor forcesimilar to the trend from July to August, but more dramatic. More importantly though, the labor force is up by 22,300 people from September 2014 and unemployment is down 21,900 people over that same period—all amid solid and increasing employment growth.

Unemployment Rate

Just like last month, we should note that non-seasonally adjusted employment data for the summer-to-fall months is almost always filled with wild swings in the labor force, and in turn, the unemployment rate will experience big swings. This is largely due to thousands of high school and college students entering the labor force in May and June, then leaving again in August and September as they return to school. Similarly, education workers who do not work in the summer are not counted in the labor force during those months, and we see a 4,000-5,000 job spike in government employment once they return in September. Therefore, summer swings from month-to-month should be taken with a grain of salt, while the focus should instead be on how the labor force and unemployment rate are performing differently from the year prior. In this case, we again saw strong annual figures, indicating a healthy unemployment rate.

On that note, the region’s economy continued to steadily grow well-above three percent, despite another disappointing national report. San Diego’s total nonfarm employment grew by 3.5 percent year-over-year, adding 46,900 jobs from September 2014 to September 2015. San Diego’s growth rate was again much higher than the 2.1 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 continues to be outstanding, as private employment drove 91.5 percent of all employment growth. The total private sector grew by 3.8 percent, out-pacing the private U.S. growth rate of 2.4 percent. More than three-quarters of all year-over-year private job growth in San Diego came from four key sectors: construction, tourism, healthcare, and professional, scientific and technical services (PST).

PST services, which is strongly associated with the region's innovation economy, grew by 7.4 percent and was one of the highest growth industries in the region.

Growth in goods-producing industries picked back up in September, accounting for 17.5 percent of all private job growth. From September 2014 to September 2015, the manufacturing industry added 2,500 jobs and grew by 2.6 percent, which is higher than recent months. The ship and boat building industry continued to grow at an outstanding rate. Meanwhile, the construction industry added 5,000 jobs and grew by 7.7 percent. This is usually a period when goods-producers experience seasonal August to September declines, but in this month's report, we actually saw seasonal growth in goods-producing industriesa good sign for the economy.

YoY

Other key drivers for growth included the region’s healthcare sector, which added 7,800 jobs and accounted for approximately 18.2 percent of the region’s private job growth. After signs of slowing last month, tourism industry growth picked back up, adding 10,100 jobs and accounting for 23.5 percent of the region’s growth. Tourism growth was driven largely by bars and restaurants, which added 8,200 jobs since last September.

Given another sluggish national jobs report, the September employment report again defied national trends and showed very strong signs of a healthy economy. Employment growth picked up and the unemployment rate is the lowest it has been in more than seven years. Moreover, 21,900 fewer San Diegans are unemployed than they were in September of 2014 and 22,300 more have entered the labor force. Important goods-producing sectors like manufacturing and construction are growing at high and steady rates, which is a great sign for the region's economy. As we enter the final quarter of 2015, the region appears to be in great shape to close the year.

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.

 

October 13, 2015
Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer, Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, San Diego Regional EDC and numerous business and civic leaders revealed the results of “The Economic Impact of San Diego’s Research Institutions” – the first study to comprehensively measure San Diego’s scientific R&D cluster. In total, San Diego’s scientific non-profit, research institutions have a $4.6 billion total economic impact on the regional economy – the equivalent of hosting 34 Comic-Cons annually.

As part of his efforts to better understand the breakthrough scientific discoveries in San Diego, Mayor Faulconer convened the research institutions in December 2014 for an informal meeting. While the Mayor was astonished by the global impact of San Diego’s scientific discovery, there was not concrete data that explained what this unique, scientific hub meant for the region’s economy.

“From Ebola to Alzheimer’s to HIV, San Diego’s research institutions are developing breakthrough therapies that are advancing healthcare and quality of life on a global scale,” said city of San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer. “With this study, for the first time, we not only understand the impact these research institutions have on global well-being, but the way they drive job creation and impact our economy. I look forward to continuing the work with these scientists, entrepreneurs and research institutions to ensure San Diego remains a global pioneer in scientific discovery.”

Understanding the impact: the nucleus of San Diego's innovation economy 

EDC – with the guidance of numerous research institutions including West Health Institute, Salk Institute Biological Studies, The Scripps Research Institute and many others – completed the most comprehensive analysis on San Diego’s research institutions to date. Highlights of the report concluded:

  • Research institutions impact roughly 37,000 jobs and have a combined $4.6 billion total impact on the region’s GRP every year.
  • The $4.6 billion economic impact of research institutions equates to that of 4 San Diego Convention Centers, 34 San Diego Comic-Cons, 6 aircraft carriers, or 33 U.S. Open Golf Championships every year.
  • Independent research institutes in San Diego receive more NIH research funding and generate more patents than counterparts in any metro area of the U.S.
  • All scientific R&D, including for-profit enterprises, generates $14.4 billion annually in economic impact—roughly equal to the region’s visitor industry. San Diego is the most concentrated R&D market in the U.S.
  • An estimated $1.8 billion in federal and philanthropic research funding flows to the region’s research institutions every year.

In order to assess the scale and impact of the cluster, the study looked at independent, non-profit research institutes (e.g. Scripps, J. Craig Venter Institute, West Health) and university research centers (e.g. UC San Diego, San Diego State University), which are collectively referred to as “research institutions” in the study. Not only do these research institutions drive philanthropic efforts in the region, but they also create job opportunities across a wide-spectrum of skill-levels.

“What is perhaps most impressive is the ripple effect our research institutions have on job opportunities throughout the region,” said Mary Walshok, vice chancellor of public programs and dean of extension at UC San Diego, who also served as a study advisor. “This isn’t just about high-paid scientists. Our research economy also fuels the demand for good construction, office, technical and management jobs.”

“There is often a misconception that academic institutions like the Salk Institute are too removed from everyday business to be a relevant economic driver. But that’s the furthest thing from the truth. The discoveries, technologies, medicines and highly trained people emerging from San Diego’s research sector are vital to the economy of the region—a fact that the EDC report makes very clear,” stated Dr. William Brody of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.

A call to action

In order to capitalize on the economic impact and grow San Diego’s R&D cluster, the study calls for the following actions and strategies: build supporting coalitions with industry leaders and institutions; drive the economic development opportunities to retain, expand and attract the types of companies and investment our research community needs to compete globally, and address workforce needs by further developing technical training programs and interactive laboratories. A coalition of research institutions and civic organizations will be working with key elected officials to advocate for funding and ensure San Diego’s research narrative is carried to Sacramento, Washington, D.C. and across the globe.

“I am proud to serve as Speaker of the most visionary and innovative region in the country,” said Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins. “This study serves as testament to the drive and success of San Diego’s 100,000 individuals working in the R&D cluster – all of which improve not only the industry and economy, but also the quality of care received around the world. It is case in point how California, and more specifically San Diego, is changing the world."

Read the executive summary and full report here. 

The economic impact study was supported by a grant from the Gary & Mary West Foundation, with additional sponsorship provided by UC San Diego Extension, The Scripps Research Institute, Salk Institute for Biological Studies and Alexandria Real Estate.