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July 12, 2018

Amid contentious political rhetoric and tightening borders, global trade and investment are top of mind for national leaders and companies alike. To contextualize the importance of such international connectivity, World Trade Center San Diego, with support from the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies at UC San Diego’s School of Global Policy & Strategy, released “Trade and Competitiveness in North America,” a research summary that quantifies trade and competitiveness in the Cali Baja mega-region, spurred in part by the negotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

“An integrated North American economy creates opportunity on both sides of the border. For every 10 jobs an American multinational creates in Mexico, it creates 25 in the United States,” said Nikia Clarke, Ph.D., executive director, World Trade Center San Diego. “As we look at a global economy where 95 percent of the world consumers live outside of North America, the ways we partner with Canada and Mexico to produce goods, services, and technology is crucial to our economic future.”

With nearly $3.6 billion in trade occurring daily between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, and 14 million jobs in the U.S. supported by this trade within North America, NAFTA is one of the most beneficial and significant trade agreements in history – most especially to the Cali Baja mega-region, which includes San Diego County, Imperial County, and the State of Baja California.

Against the backdrop of rapid changes in global production, a newfound ‘trade war’ with China, and renegotiations of trade agreements, Cali Baja’s global competitiveness is dependent on the $2.5 billion co-producing manufacturing supply chain that creates jobs and opportunities on both sides of the border.

KEY STUDY FINDINGS:

  • Cali Baja’s foreign exports total $24.3 billion, of which $6.2 billion stay within the mega-region.
  • Mexico is California’s largest export market, with annual exports totaling $26.8 billion. Today, trade with Mexico supports more than 566,000 jobs in California.
  • Since NAFTA was signed, California exports to Mexico have grown by 311 percent.
  • Cali Baja produces commodities including medical devices, semiconductors, aerospace parts, and audio and video equipment. Together, the mega-region’s manufacturing sector directly employs 418,300 workers.
  • In the U.S., nearly 87 percent of manufacturing job losses from 2000 to 2010 were caused by productivity increases as opposed to the relocation of jobs attributed to trade.
  • More than 51 percent of trade within Cali Baja is in the service sector. These include:
    • $7.6 million in computer systems design and related services
    • $3.5 million in scientific R&D services
    • $2 million in software publishers

“It is clear that the cross border economic relationship plays a critical role in the Cali Baja mega-region in spurring economic growth, advancing technology, and enhancing lives on many levels,” said Melissa Floca, associate director of the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies, a top policy research center for U.S.-Mexico relations. “These findings underscore the importance of continued cooperation between Mexico and the U.S. to enhance the value we create as a region in services and advanced manufacturing.”

Cross border production sharing has made North America more integrated, more resilient, and more competitive; it has also served to insulate our economies from other global competitors like China. By 2020, however, more than half of all U.S. exports will be in services, not goods. Establishing a robust framework for IP protections, data transfer, and privacy will be essential in ensuring that North America remains competitive in the global economy.

“In the Cali Baja mega-region, we continue to strengthen our binational ties by working closely together to improve economic prosperity on both sides of the border,” said San Diego Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer, who attended the launch event. “We’ve built that strong bond through the exchange of goods and we’re now seeing that expand to high-level services that cross the border thanks to the digital era we live in. This new study proves that free trade is working for our mega-region and why continued collaboration is so important.”

Read the full study here; also available in Spanish here.

For more research from San Diego Regional EDC – World Trade Center San Diego’s parent organization – please visit: sandiegobusiness.org/research-center.

The report was produced by World Trade Center San Diego, with research support from Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies at UC San Diego’s School of Global Policy & Strategy. The research was underwritten by SAMSUNG.

 

June 27, 2018

So far, 2018 has been a year of transition for EDC. Research performed through a partnership with the Brookings Institution led us to some startling findings about how inequality and affordability pose a threat to the San Diego region’s economic competitiveness. These findings helped to build a case for if and how an economic development organization (EDO) can play a role in region-wide efforts to promote an inclusive economy. Organizations across San Diego have been working for decades with much avail to elevate underrepresented populations, bolster small businesses, and improve quality of life for more local residents. But where does an economic development organization fit in?

For more than 50 years, EDC has been the voice of the business community – lauding the accomplishments of our life sciences, tech, and defense industries. The success of San Diego’s innovation economy has positioned the region for sustainable growth, but in an economy nearing full employment, even the most cutting-edge businesses struggle to find and retain the workers they need to remain competitive.

A strong economy is an inclusive economy, in which residents, businesses, and communities all have the opportunity to contribute and reap the benefits of growth. Over the last quarter, a regional steering committee, supported by technical advisory groups, has embarked on an ambitious effort to develop and drive an agenda that points the region toward a more inclusive economy, and thus, a stronger economy. This agenda will articulate the economic imperative for taking action, identify broad regional goals, and provide concrete recommendations around three pillars of influence: building a strong local talent pipeline, increasing small business competitiveness, and increasing affordability. This process is one that will not be accomplished overnight, but here’s an update on EDC’s progress, followed by some engagement opportunities for those ready to take action now.

Progress update:

  • Inclusive growth steering committee: made up of more than 40 leaders representing academia, nonprofit, and private sector. The steering committee convened for its second gathering to set a regional target for the first pillar of the inclusive growth strategy: building a strong, local talent pipeline. This regional target aims to increase the number of post-secondary degree holders by 2030. Details to come.
  • Advisory group on a creating a strong local talent pipeline: To arrive at this target for building a strong local talent pipeline, the steering committee was informed by an advisory group of 15 subject-matter experts, who met for three working sessions in Q2. These sessions were filled with data-driven discussions on skills, workforce requirements, demographic shifts, and more to help the steering committee arrive at a regional target.
  • Advisory group on small business competitiveness: To begin strategizing for the second pillar of this effort, the advisory group on increasing small business competitiveness met in Q2, as well. To inform this process, EDC, in partnership with the Small Business Development Center, has deployed a mass small business needs assessment survey to better understand challenges facing small business owners. The small business advisory group will analyze survey results to inform a regional target for increasing small business competitiveness. Take the survey here.

Engagement opportunities:

Building an employer-led coalition on inclusive growth will take time and collaboration across multiple industries, nonprofits, academia, and philanthropy. EDC is working hard with our partners and stakeholders to ensure we remain thoughtful and strategic in addressing these regional challenges. That said – we understand you may be tired of talking and ready to take action. Below are just a few opportunities to engage.

  1. Provide a San Diego small business the opportunity to increase its competitiveness through a free coaching program by nominating a small business for the Inner City Capital Connections Program, sponsored by Kaiser Permanente.
  2. Help us better understand the challenges facing our small businesses by taking the small business needs assessment survey.
  3. Showcase career paths for San Diego’s students by hosting a virtual tour as a part of Cajon Valley School District’s World of Work program or contact Ed Hidalgo, Chief Innovation and Engagement Officer at Cajon Valley Union School District - hidalgoe@cajonvalley.net.

We’re just getting started; much more to come. Learn more.

By Kate Gallagher, economic development coordinator

June 21, 2018

In the past two decades, San Diego County Water Authority has invested more than $2.4 billion in five major water reliability projects. A new study released by EDC in partnership with the San Diego County Water Authority, quantifies the impact these investments have on our broader economy. These projects have generated $4.8 billion in total economic impact, supporting an average of 1,475 jobs annually over two decades and creating more than $1.8 billion in local wages and salaries.

The report also found that access to safe and reliable water supplies supports $482 million in total regional sales of goods and services daily – equivalent to the economic impact of nearly three Comic-Cons every day.

In addition, the report shows that more than 2,800 people work in the water and wastewater sectors at the Water Authority and its 24 member agencies. The water industry provides career opportunities across all levels of educational attainment, in everything from customer service to engineering. 

SDCWA has kicked off the "Brought to you by water" campaign to share the impact of water across multiple industries. 

 We all know that water is essential for the viability of our communities, but we often take that for granted and that is a luxury,” said Janice Brown, chair of the EDC’s Board of Directors.  “Without the infrastructure: pipelines, dams, treatment plants - we would not have reliable water. Reliable water makes us economically competitive."  

You can find the full study here: http://www.sandiegobusiness.org/sites/default/files/Water%20Study%202018.compressed.pdf
 
If interested in an economic impact analysis of your company or project, get in touch with EDC's research team

 

June 15, 2018

Each month the California Employment Development Department (EDD) releases industry data for the prior month. This edition of San Diego’s Economic Pulse covers May 2018 data, including unemployment, new business establishments, and job postings.

Highlights include:

  • The region’s unemployment rate was 2.9 percent in May, unchanged from April’s revised rate, and 0.8 percentage points lower than a year ago – the lowest since January 2000.
  • The majority of jurisdictions saw a decrease in unemployment rate from the month prior. Only National City saw its unemployment rate rise, an increase of 0.1 percentage points to 4.0 percent.
  • The labor force grew slightly, adding 900 workers during the month, up 0.1 percent. The labor force is now up 4,300 compared to a year ago, or 0.3 percent.
  • The largest increases came from leisure and hospitality, which added 2,100 jobs. Education and health services saw the only employment declines of any industry group, contracting by 300 jobs.


Read the Economic Pulse here.

May 29, 2018

Due to regularly occurring seasonal effects, San Diego, and the overwhelming majority of the most populous metros, experienced a decline in employment during Q1 2018 (January - March). Leaving the holiday season behind, the region’s total nonfarm employment declined 7,300, or 0.5 percent. Compared to a year ago, nonfarm employment was up 27,000, or 1.9 percent.

Meanwhile, San Diego’s unemployment rate was 3.2 percent in Q1, the lowest the region has seen in the last 17 years and down from 3.3 percent in Q4 2017.
 

More key findings from the Q1 Economic Snapshot:

  • San Diego closed Q1 with an unemployment rate of 3.2 percent and the third lowest among the 25 most populous metros, up four spots from the previous quarter. 
  • Following an addition of 9,500 jobs in Q4 2017, the trade, transportation, and utilities supersector decreased by 11,200 jobs in Q1, the largest quarterly loss. The majority of these jobs were lost within the retail trade sector as seasonal employees transitioned out.
  • Year-over-year, the San Diego region’s median home price continued to climb, growing by 8.2 percent.
  • VC dollars in the region increased 60 percent compared to a year ago.

The Quarterly Economic Snapshot analyzes key economic indicators that are important to understanding the regional economy and the region’s standing relative to the 25 most populous metropolitan areas in the U.S. This releases includes data from January to March (Q1) 2018.

Read the full Econonic Snapshot here.


May 18, 2018

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

Highlights include:

  • The region’s unemployment rate was 2.9 percent in April, down 0.3 percentage points from March’s revised rate of 3.2 percent, and 1.0 percentage point lower than a year ago.
  • Every jurisdiction saw a decrease in the unemployment rate from the month prior.
  • The labor force contracted slightly, shedding 5,900 workers during the month; the seventh decline of the past 12 months. The labor force is now down 1,800 compared to a year ago.
  • Total nonfarm employment increased by 14,100, or 1.0 percent, in April. Compared to year ago, total nonfarm employment is now up 32,100, or 2.2 percent
  • Get the details in the full Economic Pulse here.

April 20, 2018

Each month the California Employment Development Department (EDD) releases industry data for the prior month. This edition of San Diego’s Economic Pulse covers March 2018 data, including unemployment, new business establishments, and job postings.

Highlights include:

  • The region’s unemployment rate was 3.2 percent in March, down 0.3 percentage points from February’s revised rate of 3.5, and 1.0 percentage point lower than a year ago.
  • Every jurisdiction saw a decrease in the unemployment rate from the month prior.
  • The labor force contracted slightly, shedding 8,700 workers during the month. The labor force is now up 1,800 compared to a year ago.
  • The largest job increases in March came from education and health services, up 1,200 jobs. Retail saw the largest decline during the month, losing 1,000 jobs.

Get the details in the full Economic Pulse here.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 11, 2018

With and through our investors, EDC maximizes San Diego’s economic competitiveness. Here's our Q1 in review:

Regional Support
In order to grow jobs, EDC dispatched the following company support tactics and events throughout Q1:
 
San Diego: Life. Changing.
EDC's global identity efforts serve to elevate the region as a top destination for talent and investment. In Q1, EDC told authentic stories about the people and companies that call San Diego home. Here's how:
 
Research
Understanding our economy begins with strong data. EDC develops economic reports to help business and civic leaders make informed decisions specific to growth and inclusion across the region. EDC released the following economic reports:
 
WTC San Diego
As part of EDC, World Trade Center San Diego works to cultivate a pipeline of export-ready firms, maximize FDI opportunities, and grow the region's global connectivity. Q1 outcomes included:

See EDC's full Q1 Report here.

March 27, 2018

"Why Economic Inclusion is Crucial To San Diego," was originally published on GlobeSt.com. Reporter Carrie Rossenfeld interviewed Cynthia Curiel of Northrop Grumman.

It’s vital that San Diego employers act to close the minority-achievement gap, equip small businesses to compete and address the affordability crisis, Northrop Grumman’s Cynthia Curiel tells GlobeSt.com.
 
San Diego Regional EDC recently launched a data-driven initiative to drive economic growth and inclusion in the region. Catalyzed by San Diego’s participation in the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program learning lab in 2017, EDC released research that highlights the region’s economic pain points and necessity for an employer-led approach to tackling inclusivity issues. Simultaneously, the organization held a program called “Future of Growth: the economic case for inclusion,” with keynote remarks by Amy Liu, Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program.
 
“Despite record-low unemployment and a renowned innovation ecosystem, San Diego has an inclusion problem that cannot be ignored,” said Mark Cafferty, president and CEO of San Diego Regional EDC, in a prepared statement. “Small businesses cannot compete with larger corporations, while one million people cannot afford to live here. This initiative is a call to action for San Diego’s employers – we must come together to bridge the gaps in our economy.”
 
Convened by EDC, a steering committee of local employers will work to create an actionable platform to achieve three goals: close the minority achievement gap; equip small businesses to compete; and address the affordability crisis. The committee consists of nearly 40 local employers including Northrop Grumman, Solar Turbines, Sempra, Thermo Fisher Scientific, San Diego Padres and more.
 
We spoke with Curiel about why economic inclusion is so vital for our region, what some of the best practices for inclusion are and advice she would give to other companies about inclusivity.
 
GlobeSt.com: Why is economic inclusion imperative for growth internally and across the region?
 
Curiel: Our nation is facing record-low unemployment rates. At face value, this is good news—it means people are working and the economy is producing, but it also means that employers and regions are facing intense competition for skilled talent. While it is important to ramp up talent-attraction efforts, we also must look to incubate a local talent pool. However, when looking at our current economic realities, this is a difficult feat for San Diego to accomplish. For starters, San Diego is an expensive place to live, with the fourth-highest cost of living in the nation.
 
Secondly, small businesses are the backbone of San Diego’s economy. More than 98% of our businesses are small businesses (under 100 workers). On average, small businesses pay 20% lower wages than their peers, making it more difficult to compete for talent. Lastly, although there may be an abundance of jobs in the innovation economy, there is a shortage of skilled workers to occupy them. Hispanics are the largest and fastest-growing demographic population in San Diego, yet are statistically the least prepared for high-skilled, high-wage careers, with only 15% holding at least a bachelor’s degree.
 
The compounded impact of a high cost of living, small businesses that cannot afford to pay competitive wages and low educational achievement in our fastest-growing population have created a problem that if ignored, will undermine San Diego’s regional competitiveness. While the answer is not easy or straightforward, it’s vital that San Diego employers act to close the minority achievement gap, equip small businesses to compete and address the affordability crisis.
 
GlobeSt.com: What are some best practices for inclusion in this sense?
 
Curiel: Simply put, the face of our workforce needs to reflect the face of our nation. At Northrop Grumman, we believe that fostering diversity and inclusion in our workforce and workplace is pivotal to promoting innovation and increasing productivity and profitability.
 
We offer a wide range of programs and activities turning our leadership focus on diversity and inclusion into tangible reality for our people from programs that cover education, employee-resource groups and work/life balance assistance, to name just a few.
 
We believe that a diverse workforce is a stronger and higher-performing workforce that results in more-engaged employees, which drives greater creativity and innovation into our business, resulting in more-impactful outcomes for our customers.
 
We want our employees to be comfortable bringing their authentic selves to work every day, which ultimately makes our company stronger, more resilient and more unified when faced with challenges in a rapidly changing and competitive world where we need everybody pulling together.
 
We also hire and mentor our nation’s wounded warriors through Operation Impact. By investing in underrepresented groups, we are not only enabling individuals to reach their full potential, we’re also leveraging untapped resources full of unique experiences, ideas, knowledge and skills to make our company, our culture and our products better.
 
We also know that in order to grow and diversify the talent pipeline, we need to inspire STEM- curious minds at an early age and that’s where our work starts. We partner with school districts and non-profit organizations in a deliberate effort to reach K-12 students from underrepresented communities throughout San Diego County. Some of our strategies include bringing kids on campus for hands-on STEM activities and high school internships, sending our engineers into the community to talk about their careers and providing direct financial support to public schools and non-profit organizations with engineering and technology-based programs.
 
Through the Northrop Grumman Foundation, we are able to expand our reach as we work to connect youth to STEM careers and provide professional development resources for their teachers. Each year we send students and educators from local school districts to Space Camp in Huntsville, AL. Through the Foundation’s Fab School Lab program, Harriet Tubman Charter and the Del Dios Academy of Arts & Science both received $100,000 grants to build state-of-the-art science labs at their schools. For the past few summers, we have hosted local middle-school teachers with a focus on science and technology at our sites in San Diego for a two-week externship where they develop lesson plans based on “real world” applications of STEM principles. In addition, to extend our pipeline of talent through college, graduation and into the workforce, we have robust programs in place where we build direct relationships with some of the most talented engineering students in the country. We are focused on a number of target colleges, including those right here in San Diego, such as San Diego State University and University of California San Diego. This ensures that we are harnessing the strength of our local talent; we are hopeful that by engaging with students at a younger age, they will be inspired and excited by the broad range of opportunities that Northrop Grumman and other local companies offer once they enter the workforce.
 
GlobeSt.com: What advice would you give to other companies that are looking to be more inclusive?
 
Curiel: An investment in your community is an investment in your company. It’s no secret that San Diego is home to some of the brightest minds in the world, especially given the life-changing technology and life-sciences developments taking place. But just think of how many more brilliant minds there would be in our local talent pool if employers embraced diversity and provided the same resources and opportunities to San Diegans in disadvantaged parts of our region. Creating training programs and educational opportunities in these communities is just one way to promote inclusion, develop local talent and create lifetime advocates for your company. So, take a look around. Your next top engineer or scientist could be waiting for you to give them the tools to help them get there.
 
GlobeSt.com: What else should our readers know about the EDC’s recent inclusive- growth event?
 
Curiel: We must recognize that the issue of inclusion is, in fact, an economic imperative and must be systematically addressed by employers and policy makers—not simply left to philanthropy. As San Diego employers, it is our job to embrace the different pathways and experiences of this diverse workforce and use it to our advantage. The Inclusive Growth event included a keynote from the Brookings Institute’s Amy Liu, San Diego Regional EDC’s Nikia Clarke and various members of this initiative’s steering Committee, of which I am very proud to be a part. Over the next year, we will be releasing research and recommendations that together create a platform for inclusive economic growth.
 
It’s not just about creating more jobs; it’s about creating a trajectory of higher growth that comes from increasing the productivity of our local workforce. This won’t happen overnight, but I believe that together we will overcome these challenges head-on and create a better San Diego in which all can thrive. And we will be a better San Diego because of it. Follow along at #inclusiveSD and sandiegobusiness.org/inclusivegrowth.
March 23, 2018

Each month the California Employment Development Department (EDD) releases industry data for the prior month. This edition of San Diego’s Economic Pulse covers February 2018 data, including unemployment, new business establishments, and job postings.
 
Highlights include:
  • The region’s unemployment rate was 3.5 percent in February, down 0.1 percentage points from last month, and 0.7 percentage points lower than a year ago.
  • Most jurisdictions saw an increase in the unemployment rate from the month prior. However, five did see a small decrease, while one remained unchanged. 
  • The labor force grew again after two months of consecutive declines, adding 11,700 workers during the month. The labor force is now up 28,300 compared to a year ago.
  • Year-over-year, wholesale trade growth outpaced all other key sectors, up 9.4 percent.
 
Read the full Economic Pulse here.