Skip to Content
The Big Picture San Diego Blog


research

March 20, 2015

Download a printable version

"The San Diego regional economy continues to hum along at a steady pace. The unemployment rate is the lowest it has been in nearly seven years while we continue to add good jobs in our innovation and building industries each year. There are plenty of reasons to remain optimistic about 2015."
Phil Blair, President and CEO
Manpower San Diego


[Highlights]

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.

The California Employment Development Department (EDD) released statewide county employment data today for the February 2015 period. This month’s data shows that unemployment was down in February as the economy continued to grow at a steady pace.

The unemployment rate is likely the big story this month since at 5.3 percent, it is the lowest it has been in nearly seven years (April 2008). This is roughly 1.8 points lower than the previous year and 0.5 points lower than the previous month. San Diego’s unemployment rate remained below the U.S. average of 5.8 percent and well-below the California average of 7.1 percent.

[Unemployment Chart]

When looking at monthly or seasonal employment, San Diego County employers added 6,200 jobs from January to February. Much of this growth came from the government sector, mostly from state and local education. Tourism and private education industries also experienced seasonal growth, while retail trade and construction experienced slight seasonal declines.

From an year-to-year or non-seasonal perspective, the region’s economy continued its steady post-recession growth. Total non-farm employment grew by 39,700 jobs from February 2014 to February 2015­—a 3.0 percent growth rate. This exceeds the U.S. growth rate of 2.4 percent.

[Employment Chart]

The private sector economy accounted for 90 percent of the year-to-year job growth and grew by 3.3 percent. This rate also outpaced the U.S. growth rate, which was 2.8 percent over that same period.

Year-to-year job growth continued to be fueled by key sectors. Construction jobs grew by 5.2 percent and added 3,200 jobs, despite the small 400 job seasonal decline. Manufacturing growth has slowed since 2014, and recent EDD adjustments indicate that growth was lower than previously thought. However, one of the region’s key manufacturing sectors ship and boat building grew by more than 15 percent.

[PST Chart]

Innovation service sectors also continued to show high job growth. The professional, scientific and technical services (PST) sector grew by 6.4 percent year-to-year. This sector represents many of our innovation employers. More specifically, scientific research and development services, a subsector of PST that represents many cleantech and life science companies, grew by 7.7 percent since last February. Professional and business services overall accounted for one quarter of all year-to-year private job growth.

The region’s tourism sector was one of the few seasonal growth industries and also experienced high year-to-year growth. The leisure and hospitality industry added 8,200 jobs over that period, which is about 4.9 percent growth. Food service and drinking places accounted for most of the growth. Private and public education services experienced high seasonal and non-seasonal growth. Colleges, universities and professional schools added 1,300 year-to-year jobs (9.3 percent growth) while state and local government education added 3,200 year-to-year jobs (3.0 percent growth).

[Growth Chart]

EDD released adjustments to 2014 data earlier this month. Those adjustments indicate that 2014 growth wasn’t quite as high as expected, with annual job growth from ranging from 2.2 to 2.4 percent throughout 2014. Therefore, while some of the growth figures for February 2015 in this report appear lower than the growth rates shown in previous monthly reports, the region's economy is actually growing faster than it was throughout 2014. Unemployment is the lowest it has been in nearly seven years and employment growth has consistently outpaced the national average. This is a positive sign as the region continues to steadily grow post-recession.

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.

March 10, 2015

 

"The numbers show that San Diego's economy is off to a great start in 2015. We're continuing to see the same accelerated year-over-year job growth that we saw at the end of 2014. Seasonal rise in unemployment might skew this result, but by nearly all measures, we're in a better place than we were last year."
Phil Blair, President and CEO
Manpower San Diego


[Highlights]

NOTE: Due to the delayed release of  data by EDD, this post will be updated with charts once the full data set is released.

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.

The California Employment Development Department (EDD) released statewide county employment data today for the January 2015 period. The release reported that the San Diego County unemployment rate increased to 5.8 percent and jobs declined by 20,100 from December 2014. January jobs figures are generally prone to seasonal effects, as retail jobs descend back to normal after the holiday season.

San Diego County’s unemployment rate rose by 0.3 points to 5.8 percent from the revised December figure of 5.5 percent. However, the unemployment rate remained 1.4 points lower than it was a year prior. The unemployment rate in the region was 1.5 points below California’s 7.3 percent rate and 0.3 points below the U.S. average of 6.1 percent. The unemployment rate rose, but not as much as California or the U.S. average. As noted, the rise is seasonal, since year-over-year data shows the region is in a far better place than January of the previous year.

San Diego County lost 20,100 jobs from December to January, but added a total of 40,400 jobs since January 2014. This equals a job growth rate of 3.1 percent over the year, which eclipsed the U.S. total employment growth rate over the same period. Year-over-year data is a better indicator of economic growth since it controls for seasonal changes. Therefore, despite a seemingly alarming monthly decline, the region's economy is steadily growing.

Year-over-year job growth continued to be fueled by the private sector. San Diego County private businesses added 36,700 jobs since January 2014, a 3.4 percent growth rate. Private sector jobs accounted for 90.8 percent of year-over-year growth.

While most service-providing industries took a typical seasonal hit, goods-producing industries added 1,400 jobs from December to January. More importantly, goods-producers added 5,200 jobs from the prior year, a 3.3 percent growth rate. Construction added 2,200 job since the previous month and 4,200 jobs since the previous year, in large part due to the construction of new buildings. Meanwhile, manufacturing added 1,000 jobs since the previous year, 900 of which came from the region's critical ship and boat building sector.

Innovation sectors continued to show high job growth. The professional, scientific and technical services (PST) sector grew by 6.6 percent from January 2014 to January 2015, adding 8,300 jobs. This sector represents many of our innovation employers. More specifically, scientific research and development services, which represents many cleantech and life science companies, added 2,400 jobs since last January--7.8 percent job growth.

[Growth Chart]

Despite the potential headlines that will surround the rising unemployment rate and declining employment, the region is continuing to experience above average year-over-year growth. The region outperformed the state and nation in employment growth, and experienced a smaller seasonal unemployment decline. Employment continued to grow above three percent annually, a great sign as we move into the new year.

Note: Our Economic Indicators Dashboard along with a brief blog post 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..

February 18, 2015

Recently, EDC released its December Manpower Monthly Employment Report. Since then, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has released December 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 5.2 percent, San Diego’s unemployment rate ranked 12th among the 25 most populous U.S. metros.
  • From December 2013 to December 2014, San Diego's unemployment rate fell by -1.3 percentage points, which ranked 9th.
  • San Diego's total employment grew by more than 3.3 percent from December 2013 to December 2014, which ranked 3rd.
  • San Diego's employment in professional, scientific and technical services (PST) grew by 9.0 percent, the highest growth rate among major U.S. metros.
  • Manufacturing in San Diego grew by 4.1 percent from the previous year, the 3rd highest growth rate.

[Employment Chart]

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently released employment data for the December 2014 period for all U.S. metro areas. When looking at employment growth, San Diego was among the best in the nation. From December 2013 to December 2014, the region's employment grew by more than 3.3 percent, which ranked 3rd among the 25 most populous U.S. metros. The U.S. average growth rate was at only 2.3 percent. San Diego has consistently outpaced U.S. employment growth this year and has been one of the most competitive metros in the nation.

[Unemployment Chart]

At 5.2 percent, San Diego County’s unemployment rate fell by 1.3 points from this time last year. The unemployment rate fell 0.6 percentage points in one month, the 2nd largest drop during that period. That fall brought San Diego's rank to 9th among major U.S. metros and placed it below the U.S. overall rate of 5.4 percent.

[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. 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 9.0 percent since last December, the most out of any metro studied here. This figure was more than double the U.S. average and more than a full point more than 2nd placed Houston, which is a positive sign for the region's key traded clusters.

[MFG Chart]

We continued to see more  impressive growth in San Diego's manufacturing sector. 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 December 2013 to December 2014, manufacturing employment grew by 4.1 percent. San Diego's manufacturing employment grew at more than twice the rate of the U.S. (1.8 percent), and recorded the 3rd highest growth rate among major U.S. metros. 

We now have data for the full 2014 calendar year, which allows us to analyze non-seasonal annual average growth from calendar year to year. We covered how positive the local numbers were in detail in our most recent Manpower Monthly Employment Report, but it is important to understand San Diego's growth relative to its peers. San Diego's annual average employment growth from 2013 to 2014 ranked 9th, and rather substantially outpaced the U.S. average. Perhaps more importantly, key innovation sectors far outpaced peers and picked up even more in the latter months of the calendar year. PST services had the 2nd highest annual average growth from 2013 to 2014 at 5.7 percent, while manufacturing had the 8th highest annual average growth rate. Both key sectors far outpaced the national average. San Diego appears to be on solid economic footing heading into 2015.

EDC will be releasing the Manpower Employment Report with January 2015 data for San Diego on Friday, March 6thThank you to Manpower-SD for their ongoing support of EDC's employment trends research. Edit: Date was previously listed incorrectly as February 20th, 2015.

January 23, 2015

Download a printable version

"San Diego’s economic potential was really on display in 2014. We saw our traded sectors really drive huge employment gains throughout the year, providing many good-paying jobs to the previously unemployed."
Phil Blair, President and CEO
Manpower San Diego


[Highlights]

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.

The California Employment Development Department (EDD) released statewide county employment data today for the December 2014 period. As expected, San Diego County rounded out the year with more outstanding job growth. Note that December data allows us to look at annual averages, which is simply the average of all twelve months of data in a calendar year. This allows us to make statements about total job growth from one calendar year to another, without specifying a certain month. This report will look mostly at changes from December 2013 to December 2014, as it does every month, but will also discuss annual averages where relevant.

Unemployment rate will likely dominate much of the story this month, since the region experienced such a dramatic decline and finally fell back below the U.S. average. San Diego County’s unemployment rate fell to 5.2 percent in December, 0.6 points lower than November. The unemployment rate in the region was 1.5 points below California’s 6.7 percent rate and now 0.2 points below the U.S. average of 5.4 percent.

[Total Chart]

While a declining unemployment rate is certainly a positive sign, the rate fell in large part because of an above average drop in the labor force. Declines in the labor force are often explained by temporary seasonal workers, retirees and students exiting the labor force. However, 16,100 less in the labor force is above average even for the November-December. This could in part be explained by the sectors where the region experienced seasonal job loss, like tourism-related sectors, construction and public education. It could also be due to a correction, since the labor force grew faster than usual in October and November. Regardless, the number is high but not too negative, since there are still 28,100 more participants than December 2013 and 19,400 less unemployed—all amid high job growth.

San Diego County employers added only 600 jobs from November to December, but a total of 44,500 jobs since December 2013. This equals a job growth rate of 3.3 percent, which eclipsed the U.S. total employment growth rate over the same period.

[Unemployment Chart]

As noted in previous releases, most economists projected the region’s annual average employment to grow by roughly 2.0 to 2.5 percent from 2013 to 2014, or approximately 25,000 to 30,000 jobs. Average annual 2014 figures exceeded those estimates and grew by 2.6 percent or 34,025 jobs, with accelerated growth coming in the later months of the year—a good sign as we head into 2015.

Job growth in December continued to be fueled by our private sector. San Diego County private businesses added 1,200 jobs in December and 42,000 since December 2013. When looking at annual averages, we see that the private sector added 31,867 jobs from 2013 to 2014, a 2.9 percent growth rate. Private sector jobs accounted for 93.7 percent of average annual growth from 2013 to 2014.

[PST Chart]

Construction and manufacturing industries experienced outstanding job growth in 2014. From December 2013 to December 2014, the construction industry added 2,400 jobs—a 3.7 percent growth rate. Over that same period, manufacturers added 3,900 jobs and grew by 4.1 percent. When looking at annual averages, construction was the highest growth industry and grew by 8.6 percent from 2013 to 2014. Growth in the industry slowed later in the year, but remained well-above overall employment growth.

Innovation sectors continued to show high job growth. The professional, scientific and technical services (PST) sector grew by 9.0 percent from December 2013 to December 2014. This sector represents many of our innovation employers. More specifically, scientific research and development services, which represents many cleantech and life science companies, grew by 5.2 percent since last December. Both were among the highest growing industries in annual average figures as well.

[Growth Chart]

With December data in, we now know that 2014 was truly an outstanding year for job growth in the region. San Diego’s key traded industries led the way and the region outpaced what many anticipated at the outset of the year. When looking ahead to 2015, we see many positive signs. Year-over-year employment growth increased as the year progressed, with figures exceeding the annual average in the later months. This trend held among our key traded sectors as well, particularly in PST services and manufacturing—sectors that generally pay above average wages. We foresee many of the same possible obstacles in 2015, such as looming federal budget sequestration and rising interest rates. Regardless, San Diego enters the year on solid footing.

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.

January 2, 2015

Recently, EDC released its Manpower Monthly Employment Report. Since then, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has released November 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 5.8 percent, San Diego’s unemployment rate ranked 16th among the 25 most populous U.S. metros.
  • From November 2013 to November 2014, San Diego's unemployment rate fell by -1.2 percentage points, which ranked 8th.
  • San Diego's total employment grew by more than 3.2 percent from November 2013 to November 2014, which ranked 6th.
  • San Diego's employment in professional, scientific and technical services (PST) grew by 6.7 percent, the 4th highest growth rate.
  • Manufacturing in San Diego grew more than 3.7 percent from the previous year, the 3rd highest growth rate.

[Employment Chart]

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently released employment data for the November 2014 period for all U.S. metro areas. When looking at employment growth, San Diego was one of the best in the nation. From November 2013 to November 2014, the region's employment grew by more than 3.2 percent, which ranked 6th among the 25 most populous U.S. metros. The U.S. average growth rate remained at only 2 percent. San Diego has consistently outpaced U.S. employment growth this year.

[Unemployment Chart]

At 5.8 percent, San Diego County’s unemployment rate remained the same as it was in October, but fell by 1.2 points from this time last year. San Diego's rate ranked 16th among major U.S. metros and remained above the U.S. overall rate of 5.5 percent. However, San Diego's rate fell faster than most metros. San Diego's percentage point change from November 2013 to November 2014 ranked 8th among major U.S. metros. While the unemployment rate in San Diego was higher than some of the region's key peer metros, it still fared better than other California metros like Los Angeles and Riverside, and fell roughly in the middle of the 25 most populous U.S. metros.

[PST Chart]

San Diego's overall growth is very positive, and we continued to see even more explosive growth in one of the region's most important sectors. Professional, scientific and technical services (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. While we saw high growth in in the October report (5.0 percent), employment in the region's PST sector grew by 6.7 percent since last November. San Diego ranked 4th among the 25 most populous U.S. metros in this measure, and far outpaced U.S. average growth, which is a positive sign for the region's key traded clusters.

[MFG Chart]

We continued to see even more  impressive growth in San Diego's manufacturing sector. 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 November 2013 to November 2014, manufacturing employment grew by 3.7 percent. San Diego's manufacturing employment grew at more than twice the rate of the U.S. (1.5 percent), and recorded the 3rd highest growth rate among major U.S. metros. 

Last month, we speculated that November would be a good month for San Diego given that the BLS had already reported such strong national figures. We covered how good the local numbers were in detail in our most recent Manpower Monthly Employment Report, but it is important to understand San Diego's growth relative to its peers. San Diego continues to fare better than most in employment growth, particularly in key innovation sectors. In two weeks, we will know San Diego's December figures and wrap up 2014. Barring a very unexpected poor report, San Diego will likely finish the year much better than even the most optimistic expectations, and likely better than the majority of peer metros.

Thank you to Manpower-SD for their ongoing support of EDC's employment trends research.

December 19, 2014

Download a printable version

“I can’t overstate how impressive San Diego’s jobs numbers are this month. We’re far exceeding even optimistic expectations, and continue to lead the way. It’s been an exciting year for growth.”
Phil Blair, President and CEO
Manpower San Diego


[Highlights]

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.

The California Employment Development Department (EDD) released statewide county employment data today for the November 2014 period, and much like the national report released two weeks ago, San Diego County experienced another month of outstanding job growth.

San Diego County employers added another 13,100 jobs in November, which makes it 60,800 jobs added so far in 2014. When looking at year-over-year growth, the region added 43,000 jobs, which is the most in 20 months. The annual job growth rate was 3.2 percent growth, which eclipsed the U.S. total employment growth rate of 2.0 percent over the same period.

[Total Chart]

San Diego County’s unemployment rate remained flat at 5.8 percent and fell by 1.2 points from this time last year. The unemployment rate in the region was 1.3 points below California’s 7.0 percent rate and tracked just above the U.S. average of 5.5 percent, which also remained flat. While the unemployment rate didn’t decline, it did remain flat amid 4,000 new labor force participants, indicating that job seekers are finding employment.

Job growth continued to be fueled by our private sector. San Diego County private businesses added 10,600 jobs in November and 40,500 since one year prior. Over the past year, private businesses have accounted for more than 94 percent of job growth in the region and grew by about 3.7 percent. This includes our goods producing industries which grew by more than 4.3 percent over that period—well above the national average.

[Unemployment Chart]

While goods producers have outpaced service providers in annual averages, service providers offset seasonal losses from goods producers in November. Most of this can be attributed to retail stores addressing holiday shopping needs while construction projects experience a seasonal slow down. Retail jobs alone accounted for more than 60 percent of private job growth last month, while construction and manufacturing businesses shed 1,700 jobs.

Despite the seasonal downturn, construction and manufacturing drove more than 16 percent of the region’s annual private job growth from November 2013 to November 2014. These industries added 6,800 jobs over the same period and outpaced total job growth. In particular, the ship and boat building sector grew by 13.6 percent over that period, which is a good sign for the region’s blue economy.

[MFGChart]

Other innovation sectors continued to show annual job growth. The professional, scientific and technical services (PST) sector grew by more than 6.7 percent and represents many of our innovation employers. National PST employment only grew by 3.2 percent over that period. More specifically, scientific research and development services, which represents many cleantech and life science companies, grew by 4.5 percent since last November.

The region’s other important growth sectors continued to grow above the regional average. The health care sector grew by 4.9 percent and is one of the region’s largest employers, representing 157,500 jobs. Another large and impactful industry, tourism, experienced 3.9 percent growth over that period. Finally, staffing services continued to grow rapidly—a good indicator of company growth.

[Growth Chart]

It remains clear that 2014 has been an outstanding year for job growth in the region. San Diego’s key traded industries led the way and the region is far ahead of the pace many anticipated at the outset of the year. The region continues to outperform the U.S. both in total employment and in key sectors, and job seekers continue to return to the economy and find jobs. It will be exciting to see how the region closes out the year when December figures are released next month.

See press release here.

Note: Our Economic Indicators Dashboard will show how our unemployment rate compares to other US metros and the US total rate when that information is released in the coming weeks.

December 10, 2014

Recently, EDC released its Manpower Monthly Employment Report. Since then, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has released October 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 5.8 percent, San Diego’s unemployment rate ranked 17th among the 25 most populous U.S. metros.
  • From October 2013 to October 2014, San Diego's unemployment rate fell by -1.6 percentage points, which ranked 8th.
  • San Diego's employment grew by more than 2.6 percent from October 2013 to October 2014, which ranked 8th.
  • San Diego's employment in professional, scientific and technical services (PST) grew by 5.0 percent, the 5th highest growth rate.
  • Manufacturing in San Diego grew more than 3.6 percent from the previous year, the 4th highest growth rate.

[Unemployment Chart]

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently released employment data for the October 2014 period for all U.S. metro areas. At 5.8 percent, San Diego County’s unemployment rate fell by 1.6 points from this time last year. San Diego's rate ranked 17th among major U.S. metros and remained above the U.S. overall rate of 5.5 percent. However, San Diego's rate fell faster than most metros. San Diego's percentage point change from October 2013 to October 2014 ranked 8th among major U.S. metros. While the unemployment rate in San Diego was higher than some of the region's key peer metros, it still fared better than other California metros like Los Angeles and Riverside, and fell roughly in the middle of the 25 most populous U.S. metros.

[Employment Chart]

When looking at employment growth, San Diego was one of the highest growing metros. From October 2013 to October 2014, the region's employment grew by more than 2.6 percent, which ranked 8th among the 25 most populous U.S. metros. The U.S. average growth rate was only 2 percent.

[PST Chart]

While San Diego's overall growth is very positive, we continued to see more explosive growth in one of the region's most important sectors. Professional, scientific and technical services (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. While we saw higher growth in in September (7.2 percent), employment in the region's PST sector grew by 5.0 percent since last October, still much higher than the U.S. average of 3.1 percent. San Diego ranked 5th among the 25 most populous U.S. metros in this measure, which is a positive sign for the region's key traded clusters.

[MFG Chart]

We saw even more  impressive growth in San Diego's manufacturing sector. 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 October 2013 to October 2014, manufacturing employment grew by 3.6 percent, which was faster than the region's overall growth rate. San Diego's manufacturing employment grew at twice the rate of the U.S., and recorded the 4th highest growth rate among major U.S. metros. 

While we already knew San Diego's October figures were positive, as we wrote in our most recent Manpower Monthly Employment Report, it remains important to understand San Diego's growth relative to its peers. San Diego continues to fare better than most in employment growth. Unemployment numbers are improving, but still lagging behind the U.S. and other key peer metros, which is something to remain cautious about. At this point, we know that November was very strong month nationally, in which the U.S. added 321,000 jobs, the most in almost three years. We also saw positive growth in temp jobs in November, according to Staffing Industry Analysts. It will be exciting to see how these figures are reflected by San Diego businesses and job seekers, which we will detail in November's Manpower Monthly Employment Report next Friday, December 19th, when the California Employment Development Department Releases the data.

Thank you to Manpower-SD for their ongoing support of EDC's employment trends research.

November 21, 2014

Download a printable version

“We continue to find ourselves in a much better position than the year before, as our labor force and employment base continue to grow. Job seekers are not only finding opportunities, but in industries that pay well.”
Phil Blair, President and CEO
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 2014 period. At 5.8 percent, San Diego County’s unemployment rate dropped 0.1 points from September to October, and fell by 1.6 points from this time last year. The unemployment rate in the region remained 1.2 points below California’s 7.0 percent rate and tracked just above the U.S. average of 5.5 percent.

While a 0.1 point decrease may not seem particularly outstanding, the unemployment rate continued its descent while the labor force added 14,900 job-seekers this month. Unemployment claims remained flat, meaning there was one job for every one person who re-entered the labor force. This is a great sign moving forward, since it shows that workers are encouraged and finding jobs.

[Unemployment Chart]

When looking at employment changes, we see a mix of private and public sector growth, the latter due mostly to the return of public school employees. From September to October, the region’s total employment grew by 12,500 jobs, with the private sector accounting for 5,700 jobs.

Monthly private sector gains were partially offset by the continued seasonal decline of accommodation, recreation and food service workers that support our visitor and convention economy. These changes happen every year, as the summer travel season winds down. Much of this employment is made up for with seasonal gains in the retail trade sector, as businesses begin serving back-to-school and holiday shoppers.

[Tourism Chart]

Perhaps more importantly, San Diego’s total and private employment growth continued to outpace the U.S. average. Since October 2013, San Diego’s employment grew by 2.6 percent compared to 2.0 percent nationally. Likewise, the region’s private sector grew by 3.0 percent compared to 2.3 percent nationally.

Most of the private growth from September to October came from a handful of industries. Health care, education, retail trade and administrative services alone added more jobs than the net private sector, meaning the 7,300 jobs added in those industries were offset by losses elsewhere in the private sector, mostly in tourism-related industries.

[Growth Chart]

San Diego’s construction and manufacturing industries had a slow month, but that is typical for this period. These industries are still producing high year-over-year employment gains. Construction and manufacturing added a combined 8,000 jobs since October 2013, and both are growing well above the private sector average.

Innovation sectors continued to show annual job growth. Ship and boat building grew by more than 11 percent and is a critical component of our maritime cluster. The professional, scientific and technical services sector grew by 5.0 percent and represents many of our innovation employers. More specifically, scientific research and development services, which represents many cleantech and life science companies, grew by 4.2 percent since last October.

[MFGChart]

The numbers from October’s report are promising. We don’t entirely know the deeper causes behind the labor force and unemployment numbers, so optimism should be tempered in that regard. However, San Diego continues to experience above average annual job growth driven by its core industries like health care, advanced manufacturing and science-related services, which is clearly something to remain optimistic about.

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, 2014

Earlier this month, EDC released its 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 5.9 percent, San Diego’s unemployment rate ranked 16th among the 25 most populous U.S. metros.
  • From September 2013 to September 2014, San Diego's unemployment rate fell by -1.4 percentage points, which ranked 8th among the 25 most populous U.S. metros.
  • Since the end of the recession (June 2009), San Diego's unemployment rate has fallen by 4.1 percentage points, which is greater than the U.S. average.
  • San Diego's employment grew by more than 2.5 percent from September 2013 to September 2014, which ranked 9th among the 25 most populous U.S. metros.
  • From September 2013 to September 2014, San Diego's employment in professional, scientific and technical services (PST) grew by 7.2 percent, the 2nd fastest growth among major U.S. metros.
  • Manufacturing in San Diego grew more than 2.6 percent from the previous year, which is faster than both the overall employment growth and the U.S. manufacturing average.

[Unemployment Chart]

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently released employment data for the September 2014 period for all U.S. metro areas. At 5.9 percent, San Diego County’s unemployment rate fell by 1.4 points from this time last year. San Diego's rate ranked 16th among major U.S. metros and was slightly above the U.S. overall rate of 5.7 percent. However, San Diego's rate fell faster than most. San Diego's percentage point change from September 2013 to September 2014 ranked 8th among major U.S. metros. While the unemployment rate in San Diego was higher than some of the region's key peer metros, it still fared better than other California metros like Los Angeles and Riverside, and fell roughly in the middle of the 25 most populous U.S. metros.

[Employment Chart]

When looking at employment growth, San Diego fared better than most. From September 2013 to September 2014, the region's employment grew by more than 2.5 percent, which ranked 9th among the 25 most populous U.S. metros. The U.S. average growth rate was less than 2 percent, and only two U.S. metros, Houston and Dallas, grew by more than 3 percent.

[PST Chart]

While San Diego's overall growth is very positive, we saw more explosive growth in one of the region's most important sectors. Professional, scientific and technical services (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. From September 2013 to September 2014, employment in the region's PST sector grew by 7.2 percent, more than double the U.S. average of 3.2 percent. San Diego ranked second among the 25 most populous U.S. metros in this measure, which is a positive sign for the region's key traded clusters.

[MFG Chart]

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 2013 to September 2014, manufacturing employment grew by 2.6 percent, which was faster than the region's overall growth rate. San Diego's manufacturing employment grew at twice the rate of the U.S., and recorded the 9th highest growth rate among major U.S. metros. 

As we discussed in the Manpower Monthly Employment Report earlier this month, San Diego's economy is experiencing strong positive employment growth. That point is even more apparent now that we can observe that growth in the context of San Diego's peers. While the unemployment rate isn't as comparatively low as we would like to have seen, Summer-to-Fall seasonal effects are often felt more strongly in San Diego, given the region's large tourism industry. We've generally seen the unemployment rate track at or below the U.S. average, and don't expect that to change much in the near future.

Thank you to Manpower-SD for their ongoing support of EDC's employment trends research.

October 17, 2014

Download a printable version

 

 

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

  • Monthly data for September is highly susceptible to seasonal changes, so month-to-month employment changes should be viewed in that context.
  • At 5.9 percent, San Diego’s unemployment rate fell in September by 0.3 percentage points from August. In addition, unemployment was down 1.4 points from September 2013.
  • San Diego’s unemployment rate was lower than the California average, and slightly above the U.S. average.
  • The region lost 2,800 seasonal jobs from August to September, but added 33,300 jobs since last year.
  • Seasonal effects limited monthly employment growth in most private industries, but manufacturing, education services and professional and business services added jobs in September.
  • Staffing services grew by 4.7 percent since last year and nearly two percent this month, indicating demand for hiring services.
  • San Diego’s traded economies (Innovation, Defense and Tourism) continued to drive annual employment growth.

[Unemployment Chart]

The California Employment Development Department (EDD) released statewide county employment data today for the September 2014 period. At 5.9 percent, San Diego County’s unemployment rate dropped 0.3 points from August to September, and fell by 1.4 points from this time last year. The unemployment rate in the region remained a full point below California’s 6.9 percent rate and tracked just above the U.S. average of 5.7 percent. While the region experienced a decline of more than 11,000 in its labor force, much of this can be pinned on seasonal effects, as temporary summer workers fall out of the labor force. Since September of last year, the labor force gained 11,100 people, 33,900 more people have identified as employed, and 22,200 less people have identified as unemployed, indicating positive momentum in the labor market.

[Employment Chart]

When looking at employment changes, September seasonal effects played a role here as well. From August to September, the region’s total employment fell by 2,800 jobs, with the private sector falling by 7,400 jobs. Private sector losses were partially offset by 4,500 public sector education workers returning to their jobs. While these numbers appear threatening, it can be almost entirely pinned on seasonal losses in common summer growth industries like construction and tourism. When looking at year-over-year growth, we see that San Diego added 33,300 jobs, 32,400 of which are from the private sector. San Diego continued to out-pace national growth as well. Employment from September 2013 to 2014 grew by approximately 2.5 percent overall and three percent in the private sector, while the U.S. grew by about a half point slower.

[PST Chart]

San Diego’s traded economies continued to drive much of the region’s employment growth. Professional, scientific and technical services (PST), heavily associated with innovation, was one of the few industries to add jobs in the down season. The industry added 600 jobs since August 2014. More importantly, PST added 8,900 jobs since September 2013, a growth rate of 7.2 percent, which is nearly three times the economy-wide 2.5 percent growth rate. PST includes subsectors like scientific research and development services, which is a key driver of our life sciences. This subsector grew by 4.6 percent over the year.

San Diego’s tourism industry continued its normal seasonal decline, losing 5,700 jobs from August to September. However, the industry added 3,700 jobs since September 2013, indicating that the industry is still performing well.

San Diego’s goods producers continued their steady employment growth, despite experiencing a seasonal drop like most industries in the region. Goods producers accounted for more than 27 percent of the annual job growth. The construction industry, despite losing 1,400 jobs last month, added 6,300 jobs from September 2013 to 2014, a 10.2 percent increase. Manufacturing was one of the few industries to grow this month, adding 600 jobs from August to September. This industry has added 2,500 jobs since September 2013,

Other substantial annual growth industries include ship and boat building, which grew by more than 11 percent and is a critical component of our maritime cluster. San Diego’s movers of goods have also been growing rapidly, as transportation and warehousing employment grew 7.5 percent over the year.

[Growth Chart]

While the apparent seasonal effects in this month’s report may grab the headlines, San Diego is performing well so far in 2014. San Diego’s key driving industries have had an outstanding year, at least in terms of job growth, and the region has continued to add middle-to-high paying jobs in industries like manufacturing, construction and PST services. San Diego continued to out-pace the U.S. in job growth, while seeing a healthy decline in the unemployment rate. With one quarter remaining, San Diego’s labor market has exceeded many expectations.

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.