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April 22, 2014

This is the inaugural post of an ongoing monthly blog series dedicated to the California Employment Development Department (EDD) monthly employment release.

2014_03_Total

The California Employment Development Department (EDD)released statewide county employment data on Friday for the March 2014 period. The biggest news coming out of this month’s report is that San Diego County has finally exceeded its historical seasonally unadjusted employment peak set in December 2007. EDD reported that the region now has 1,335,200 non-farm jobs as of March 2014, exceeding the previous peak of 1,333,400 jobs. Economists expected employment to rebound above its pre-recession peak sometime in 2014, and it is encouraging to exceed that mark as early as March.

Private employment, which was reported at 1,100,300 jobs, has yet to exceed its peak of 1,110,100 set in August 2007. However, March 2014 private employment was the second highest ever recorded. The region added 30,100 private industry jobs from March 2013 to March 2014, with 10,600 of those jobs being added from February to March 2014.

2014_03_MFG_CONST

San Diego’s construction and manufacturing industries continue to pick up steam as the economy rebounds from the recession. The construction industry added 2,000 jobs from February to March 2014, and added 5,800 jobs from March 2013 to March 2014. While manufacturing growth was more modest, the industry added 500 jobs from February to March and added 1,200 jobs from the previous year.

Professional and business services added 6,500 jobs from March 2013 to March 2014, the most of any industry in the region. Professional and business services includes much of the innovation economy activity, along with critical service providers like legal services, architecture services and enterprise management. It is also the largest industry in San Diego, employing more than 228,000 as of March 2014. San Diego’s leisure and hospitality industry, otherwise known as tourism, added 6,100 jobs from March 2013 to March 2014, with 3,400 of those jobs added from February to March 2014. Both of these industries had already exceeded their pre-recession peaks in 2013.

2014_03_Unemployment

The county’s seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate dropped to 6.9 percent in March 2014, down from 7.0 percent in February 2014 and 7.8 percent in March 2013. California’s statewide unemployment rate was 8.4 percent in March 2014, well above San Diego’s posted rate. Our Economic Indicators Dashboard will show how this compares to other US metros and the US total rate when that information is released in the coming weeks.

April 21, 2014

When MIT set out to the name the world’s smartest company in February, they didn’t look to count the number of patents or PHds or even stock gains; instead, they asked themselves whether a company had made strides which have helped redefine its field. The answer was not a company located in Silicon Valley or Seoul or London. The answer was – and still is – right here in San Diego. That company is Illumina.

Founded in 1998, Illumina has not only helped build the genomics field, but also has redefined it. In a time when medicine and medical research are becoming increasingly expensive, Illumina has made personalized medicine more attainable. They have made it feasible to sequence genomes for under $1,000 a patient.

Last week, more than 15 EDC stakeholders got to experience this innovation first hand when they toured Illumina’s UTC headquarters. With its wide array of platforms, Illumina is sought out by researchers and healthcare professionals as well as ancestry companies, such as Ancestry.com and 23 & Me to provide valuable genetic information. Each day, Illumina and its 3,000 global employees- 1,500 in San Diego - work to improve lives around the world by unlocking the power of the genome.

On the tour of Illumina’s campus, guides walked participants through R&D space, on-site manufacturing facilities and a suite of amenities available to Illumina’s employees, including a state-of-the-art fitness center, coffee shops, an amphitheater and the cafeteria, which employees admit is the most effective and efficient meeting space on campus. Collaboration is at Illumina’s core and all of these spaces provide opportunities for employees to exchange information and generate new ideas, developing the next ideas that will fuel Illumina’s growth as a global brand.

As MIT notes when talking about their rankings, “It might sound difficult to define what makes a smart company, but you know one when you see it.” Thanks in part to Illumina, San Diego is showing the rest of the world what smart really means.


March 13, 2014

It’s EDC’s job to be a booster of all-things San Diego. Through our work, we get the opportunity to meet budding entrepreneurs and small businesses owners.  They differ in the types of enterprises they run and in the people they hire, but they all say one thing: San Diego is a great place to launch a startup or small business.  We know that San Diego has many ingredients for entrepreneurs to be successful -- from a top tier talent pool to diverse neighborhoods which help attract the right people -- but we haven’t had a definitive ranking that said it all. Now we do: Today, Forbes ranked San Diego “The Best Place to Launch a Startup in 2014.”

San Diego is the best place to launch a startup in 2014. We’ll give that a moment to sink in.

One of the criteria used to rank location is based on social media use of small businesses in the selected city. As the article writes, “It turns out that Internet-savvy businesses are likely to grow faster than those that don’t…. Web presence indicates adaptability and likelihood to innovate—creating a network effect for communities dedicated to growth and positive change.” There’s no doubt that San Diego has its share of social media-savvy entrepreneurs and small business owners.  Recognizing this, EDC has recently brought together a group of these “Digital Ambassadors” to help carry positive messages about the region to the rest of the world. We’re constantly amazed about the powerful things we learn about San Diego through social media every day.  Just yesterday, we learned that Google Analytics got its start in San Diego as Urchin.

Here’s a little more about what Forbes had to say about the region:

"Small enterprises ranked in the top five on nearly every category to lift San Diego into the top slot. There is heavy concentration in projected high growth industries, as well as a high likelihood of accepting credit cards and adopting social media. San Diego is home to the fifth-best rated business community in the country. “

Although we have often been known to criticize the methodology of “rankings,” we need to celebrate where we can. And today, we celebrate!  San Diego Is, in fact, the best place to launch a startup in 2014.

Now, let’s continue to use our award-winning social media skills to get the word out.


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January 31, 2014

global sd cover

Throughout the nation, and the world, the role of metropolitans is becoming more pronounced. Due in part to political gridlock in D.C., metropolitans have become living incubators for ideas and innovation. Although the rise of the metropolitan region can be seen by anyone who picks up the paper or flips on the T.V., it’s the Brookings Institute that has given this movement new momentum.

San Diego is one region to embrace this "metropolitan first" ethos. This week, EDC – along with numerous regional partners – released the “Global San Diego Export Plan” which focuses on growing our metropolitan economy and creating jobs through exports. The release of the export plan is part of San Diego’s continued participation in the Global Cities Initiative, a joint project of the Brookings Institute and JPMorgan Chase & Co.

In 2012, San Diego was selected by Washington-based Brookings Institute as one of the first eight U.S. cities to participate in a national initiative to pioneer new strategies that boost exports and global economic competitiveness. The Global Cities Exchange has now grown to include 20 U.S. metropolitan areas.

A focus on exports means a focus on all sectors of San Diego’s economy, from the established defense and communications sectors to emerging industries such as craft beer. Companies that export not only grow faster, but are 8.5 percent less likely to go out of business. Additionally, if you work at a company that exports, on average, you will earn a 10-20 percent higher wage than you would if you worked at a company that didn’t export.

San Diego’s Core Team Partners are streamlining four strategies to implement the export plan:

·         Leveraging the diversity of regional markets

·         Developing and increasing small- and-medium-sized enterprises’ capacity to export

·         Concentrating on San Diego’s unique infrastructure assets

·         Leveraging the trade potential of the CaliBaja Bi-National Mega Region

A newly-formed Global Competitiveness Council, comprised of key leadership from the Core Team Partners including elected officials and university leadership, will move forward on implementation of the strategies and provide insight into the region’s trade and investment plans.

In San Diego, we’re not just exporting San Diego products; we’re exporting San Diego culture as well. Core Team Partners have included a Global Outreach component to encourage San Diegans to adopt a more global mindset and use this initiative as a platform for communicating San Diego’s global fluency.

In the coming weeks, the Core Team will continue to push out information regarding San Diego’s plan to increase exports.

In the meantime, here’s what Brookings and some members of the Global Competitiveness Council are saying about this plan:

Brad McDearman, fellow and director of Metro Trade and Investment at Brookings said: “San Diego was selected to be part of the Global Cities Exchange due to its unique cross-border dynamic, Pacific Rim location, demonstrated regional collaboration, and commitment to being more intentional about positioning the region globally. San Diego is a region with tremendous potential in international markets.”

Councilmember Mark Kersey, City of San Diego, 5th District said: “Expanding trade opportunities for San Diego companies is critical to our binational economy. Although we currently have companies utilizing our regional opportunities for trade and commerce, there is a lot more potential. This initiative will provide businesses with concrete information to help them tap into the unique opportunities being a border region provides," said

Thella Bowens, president and CEO of San Diego County Regional Airport Authority said: “The Airport Authority is pleased to see the concrete steps laid out in this plan to improve our region’s export potential, based on the market assessment completed last spring. In terms of air passengers, air cargo and aviation infrastructure, San Diego International Airport plays a crucial role in our region’s export performance. We are committed to working with our partner agencies and the City of San Diego to enhance the export potential of the region”

Mark Cafferty, president and CEO or San Diego Regional EDC said: “We know companies that export not only pay their workforce higher wages, but also create more jobs. This plan is a solid foundation to not only boost employment, but to also start shaping the region’s distinct global identity. The good news is that we have room to grow.”

Brennon Crist, JPMorgan Chase market manager for Middle Market/Commercial Banking said: "Exports of goods and services represent a tremendous opportunity for San Diego businesses to grow and create jobs. The strategies outlined in this Export Plan will be instrumental to helping our region’s employers realize their export potential. The plan serves as a great example of the public-private sector collaboration that’s so critical to ensuring our region’s long-term economic success in a highly competitive global economy.”

Bob Nelson, chairman, Port of San Diego said: “Leaders throughout San Diego share a desire to improve our region’s competitiveness in global markets, which is driven in large part by our goods movement capacity at the Port of San Diego. With two marine cargo terminals, the Port of San Diego is a major player in our region’s export activity. The release of our Brookings Institution Metropolitan Export Plan signals that our San Diego region as a whole is serious about offering businesses a simpler, easier path to exporting – and that we’re willing to work together to get there.”

More statements can be found here.

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January 16, 2014

A new pot of money brings discretionary economic incentives to the Golden State. Let’s make sure San Diego gets a piece of the pie.

Gov. Brown at Soitec dedication cermony

Pictured above: Gov. Brown speaking at the dedication of the Soitec factory. Soitec is a french semiconductor manufacturer that chose to open its North American headquarters in San Diego, creating approximately 450 jobs throughout the region.

Every day we hear from companies both in San Diego, and those looking to move into the region, that are impressed with all the county has to offer businesses. We have top-tier universities that churn out one of the most qualified talent pools in the country. From Oceanside to Otay Mesa, we have a diversity of commercial space that suits virtually every industry. And of course, we have near-perfect weather that helps create a work – lifestyle balance that is second to none.

But for all the things we have, there is one thing we don’t: discretionary economic incentives. All of that is about to change.

Last year, Governor Brown introduced the Governor’s Economic Development Initiative (GEDI), which is designed to give California the edge it needs to continue to attract, retain and expand businesses. GEDI has three main components: a Statewide Sales & Use Exemption for Manufacturing Equipment, which helps companies obtain qualified manufacturing equipment without having to pay the state portion of the sales tax; a New Employment Credit, which helps employers in designated regions around the state hire employees that meet certain criteria; and the California Competes Tax Credit, a discretionary corporate income tax credit available to businesses that want to come to, or stay and grow in California. GEDI went into effect on January 1, 2014.

San Diego can naturally lead the pack in the first two areas. The new employment credit is applicable to the hiring of recently separated veterans, of which the region has in abundance. Due to a strong biotech cluster, the region also has a plethora of high-tech manufacturers that can benefit from the equipment credit. But it’s the California Competes section that really peaks our interest.

Until now, states such as Texas have commanded headlines with grandiose economic incentives, while the perception is that California has no incentives to offer businesses. In reality, we know that more than 70 percent of a company’s productivity - and often its decision to operate in a region - depends on talent availability, but it’s frequently these economic incentives that give a competitive edge to regions looking to attract new investment. Yes, to many San Diego sells itself. But it’s a competitive market globally, and we can’t rest on our laurels any longer, hoping people will come to California because this is where innovation happens.

Starting Jan. 1, California Competes created a $30 million fund for companies that want to come to, or stay and grow in California. Interested employers can apply for these tax credits through the Governor’s Office of Business & Economic Development (GO-Biz), which will negotiate the credit before it is sent to the newly created California Competes Tax Credit Committee for approval. The fund will increase to $150 million in July of this year and $200 million in July 2015. GO-Biz has gone to great lengths to make sure that California remains competitive to businesses of all sizes, by marking 25 percent of the credit for small businesses (less than $2 million in profit).

When it comes to GEDI, EDC’s goal is to make sure that companies throughout San Diego County are aware that there are incentives available, and to ensure that as a region, we are taking advantage of them to attract new companies, and to support and grow those already here. California Competes is a competitive process, and we want to make sure San Diego gets its fair share of the benefit.

Here’s where EDC comes in: we realize that like many government processes, this one may be a bit complicated, and we’re here to help you navigate it. Contact us at info@sandiegobusiness.org to get started and help us by spreading the word about these valuable credits.

The next big idea- and employer- is out there somewhere. It is likely here already. If we add these economic incentives to the existing list of reasons to operate in the region, before long, even more innovators and innovative companies will be able to call San Diego home.


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November 11, 2013

Illustration of GroundMetrics oil producing technology

 

GroundMetrics CEO George Eiskamp recently demonstrated a talent important to any entrepreneur building a company – extemporaneous speaking. Asked to give a quick update on his company at the closing lunch of the World’s Best Technology conference (WBT), Eiskamp whisked the audience through his firm’s financing wins and in the process showed that it takes a proverbial village to get a company up and running.

Founded in 2010, GroundMetrics is developing a new class of sensor system for advanced ground-based electromagnetic survey and monitoring services for resource exploration, production and environmental integrity.

Eiskamp’s early funding set records with San Diego’s Tech Coast Angels. His first round of financing in 2012 was the largest investment ever raised from a single chapter ($1.2 million). A Small Business Innovation Research grant (SBIR) from the U.S. Department of Energy soon followed and in October of 2012 GroundMetrics was selected to present at WBT.

Eiskamp’s story was welcome news for the WBT class of 2013. Since participating in the program last year, where the company won a Gold award as one of the most promising technologies showcased at the event, GroundMetrics took second place in the San Diego Venture Group’s PitchFest, closed a second round of financing – again led by San Diego Tech Coast Angels – and secured an additional SBIR grant from the Department of Energy as well as a $1.8M grant not earmarked for small companies.  The company also added the world’s 6th largest and 20th largest oil companies to its customer base in addition to repeat business from the world’s largest oil company.

San Diego Regional EDC’s Matt Sanford (who met Eiskamp at WBT 2012) introduced him to Tom Van Betten and Kaley Severn at Cassidy Turley San Diego, who helped him locate office space in Kearny Mesa and referred him to James Morrell at Veteran Solutions to renovate the space. In a follow up email, Eiskamp was very positive about his experience. “I’d highly recommend them to other early stage companies, which are the real economic drivers in any community and especially tech clusters like San Diego.”

GroundMetrics is currently in due diligence for a Series B round of funding with two organizations he met via WBT in 2012. It was a meeting with one of those groups at the site of WBT 2013 that led to the last minute request for what turned out to be an inspiring story for companies currently in the hunt for funding.


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November 7, 2013

California group photo with Sec. of Commerce Pritzker

EDC recently joined a delegation of nine California organizations, organized by the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz), at the inaugural SelectUSA  Investment Summit in Washington D.C. The goal was to promote the golden state as the prime spot for international trade and investment. Hosted by the Department of Commerce, the summit connected top-level corporate executives and investors from the U.S., and around the globe, with the nation’s economic development organizations at the state, regional, and local levels.

Despite the federal government shutdown a few weeks prior, it was business as usual in the nation’s capital.  “The United States is open for business,” President Obama told a sold-out room at the conference. 

The two-day conference welcomed more than 1,000 attendees from nearly 60 international markets and 47 U.S. states, three U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia. Featured speakers, in addition to the President, included Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, Secretary of State John Kerry, Bill Simon (President and CEO of Walmart U.S.), Parker Harris (Co-Founder of Salesforce.com), and Ludwig Willisch (CEO of BMW North America).  The summit also featured more than 70 high-level speakers covering topics such as workforce development, public-private partnerships through infrastructure investments and exports.

Why is foreign direct investment (FDI) important?  Direct investment in the United States – from foreign or domestic firms – is a critical factor in economic growth and job creation.  In 2012 alone, the U.S. attracted more than $160 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI), making us the world’s top destination for FDI.  In 2011, foreign-owned companies in the U.S.  were responsible for employing 5.6 million U.S. workers. 

Where does California stack up in comparison to other U.S. states?  In April of this year, California Governor Jerry Brown announced more than $1.8 billion in deals making the state number one for attracting FDI.  Foreign-owned companies account for more than 700,000 jobs in the state.

At the conference, President Obama  announced the first-ever comprehensive effort led by the federal government to attract job-creating foreign investment to the U.S. through the expansion and enhancement of the SelectUSA initiative. The initiative seeks to grow FDI as the nation emerges from the recession and becomes an increasingly competitive location for attracting investment due to rising productivity, abundant low-cost energy and rising costs elsewhere.  With the announcement,  regions like San Diego can expect a smart FDI strategy that integrates export promotions, workforce development, innovation cluster creation and land use planning.   Such a strategy will reap the many benefits of international trade and investment—including new better paying jobs, new tax revenues, knowledge spillover and global connectivity. 

What does this mean for San Diego?  San Diego’s active role in    the State of California’s collaborative and coordinated investment promotion efforts is needed to engage and attract future investors;  our partnership with the Brookings Institution on the Metropolitan Export Initiative will create a regional export strategy that will boost the local economy and create jobs; and our ongoing involvement with the Global Cities Initiative to spur and strengthen regional global engagement puts San Diego on track for creating a blueprint for  global competitiveness.


posted by Daichi Pantaleon

November 1, 2013

101 San Diego Companies made Inc 5000 list of fastest growing companies

Earlier this week, Inc. magazine released its annual Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing companies. More than 100 companies in San Diego metro made the list, including four EDC Investors: SKLZ,Sentek GlobalD&K Engineering and VAVi Sport and Social Club. Other prominent San Diego region businesses made the list, such as Stone Brewing and Quality Controlled Manufacturing, who recently participated in San Diego Manufacturing Day with EDC and other regional partners. 

The Inc. 5000 list ranks companies by revenue growth from 2009 through 2012 for companies that are U.S.-based, privately-held, for profit, and independent with 2012 revenues greater than $2 million. The 101 San Diego companies on the list totaled more than $1.75 billion in annual revenue in 2012. Among all US metros, San Diego had the 13th most companies on the list. 

This list shows San Diego's businesses are gaining steam. While we're home to one percent of the nation's privately-held businesses, San Diego companies make up 2 percent of this year's Inc 5000  list.

Click here to see the full Inc. 5000 list. Click here to see the full list of San Diego metro businesses.

October 4, 2013

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More than 80 business and industry leaders gathered at the Challenged Athletes Foundation to mark the launch of San Diego County's Sports and Active Lifestyle Cluster Report, which quantified the impact of the cluster for the first time. In order to celebrate the industry and learn about challenges, a panel of sports innovators and experts who included John Sarkisian of SKLZ, Peter Callstrom of San Diego Workforce Partnership, and Stephan Aarstol of Tower Paddle Boards, spoke about a variety of topics related to the cluster. Opening remarks from Interim Mayor Todd Gloria and Council President Pro Tem Sherri Lightner emphasized the importance of the industry to both the region's economy and cultural identity. 

Funded by San Diego Workforce Partnership with assistance from San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation and San Diego Sport Innovators, the study found that the economic impact of the region’s SAL cluster is equivalent to hosting four Super Bowls annually.
 
With more than 1,200 businesses representing approximately 23,000 employees, the industry’s presence on the regional economy adds $2.24 billion in economic activity annually. From 2012-2013, the employment in the sports and active lifestyle cluster outpaced that of the entire county, growing 3-5 percent in the SAL cluster, compared to 1-2 percent growth in San Diego County. Overall, the industry accounted for 1.3 percent of the region’s economy in 2011.
 
“With the release of the study, we have concrete data to talk about a growing industry that is an important part of San Diego’s story,” said Mark Cafferty, president & CEO of San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation. “As home to the second highest concentration of sports and active lifestyle workers in the U.S., this economic driver has an important place in the region’s innovation economy.”
 
Home to miles of beaches and favorable weather, the study also concluded that San Diego’s natural assets are one of the reasons the region has excelled in forming this cluster.
 
“San Diego is every sports and active lifestyle company’s ideal location,” said Lisa Freedman, executive director of SD Sport Innovators. “While there are other important and larger verticals in San Diego, the sports and active lifestyle cluster is a very strong community where authenticity goes hand in hand with innovation. As a result, people around the globe not only purchase and use, but they also rely on products developed and manufactured right here in Southern California.”
 
As part of the workforce assessment, the study surveyed numerous local companies to determine their employment needs. With 32,407 jobs dependent upon sports, active lifestyle and recreation related activities, cultivating a strong workforce is essential to growing the industry.
 
“As a unified region, our goal is to forge partnerships with businesses, universities and government to ensure that companies continue to find the talent they need so the region can retain its share of the sports innovation industry, ” said Peter Callstrom, president and CEO of San Diego Workforce Partnership.
 
In order to continue grooming the industry for growth, the report concluded with recommendations for helping sports innovation companies thrive including supporting entrepreneurial skills and strengthening cross-border ties for manufacturing partnerships.
 
Check out the executive summary and complete study for more information. More pictures from the event can be found here
 

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August 19, 2013
This summer, EDC participated in Connect2Careers,a program that places young adults in summer internship programs across San Diego. Funded by the City of San Diego, the program works to address San Diego’s ongoing skills gap by providing meaningful summer work experiences that prepare young adults for in-demand jobs.
 
Before he heads back to school this fall, we gave our Intern Regan Pecjak one last assignment: reflect on his internship experience. Here’s what he had to say:
 
Supervisor Daichi Pantaleon with Regan PecjakWhen I began my internship at San Diego Regional EDC at the beginning of the summer I was in a position that I feel was representative of many San Diegans; I had only a vague idea of what economic development was and had absolutely no idea how it would pan out. The past weeks at EDC have given me an intimate understanding of both and provided me with an experience that I would have never had without the Connect2Careers program. 
 
Working at EDC has given me the opportunity to learn firsthand how the region is marketed to businesses and of the various efforts to expand the region’s economy. One of the major projects at EDC during my time here as the Brookings Institute’s Metropolitan Export Initiative. The plan is meant to address the under performance of San Diego’s international exports; despite having the 17th largest metro area population, San Diego’s export production ranks 55th. Sitting in these meetings gave me an in-depth understanding of the nature of some components of the region’s economy. 
 
Sitting in meetings and honing my office skills were not the only things I did; I really enjoyed the research assignments I was given. One of my favorite assignments involved researching incentives that US cities offer businesses to expand and relocate. It helped me understand what goes into creating a successful business climate and even got me thinking about some ideas that could potentially improve our own region!
 
After seven weeks at EDC, I’m happy to report that it’s been an invaluable experience. Working downtown provided me with access to key policy makers, as well as an informal network of economic development professionals. Within EDC’s walls, my co-workers were extremely cordial and were happy to talk with me. Thanks to the San Diego Regional EDC and the Connect2Careers program, I’ve had an excellent summer.  
 
Dec. 2013 update: EDC likes to keep in touch with interns following their experience to further help them on their professional paths. We're excited to share that Regan has been accepted early to Harvard. Although he is undecided on his major, he hopes to focus on economics and mathematics, while further exploring his interest in public service. Congratulations Regan!
 
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