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The Big Picture San Diego Blog

January 2015

January 28, 2015

Airport Image with Quote

Businesses have come together. Research has been compiled. Organizations have marching orders. What will San Diego do in order to project its competitiveness and ensure the entire world knows San Diego is the place to live and work? For starters, we’ll make sure people can get to and from the region.

San Diego International Airport (SAN) is one of the region’s premier vehicles lifting the region’s profile and connecting its businesses and people to the globe. With flights to more than eight nonstop international destinations, such as Tokyo through Japan Airlines (JAL) and London through British Airways, San Diego businesses have access to virtually any market around the globe.

The airport has been strategic about its global work. It’s no coincidence that San Diego’s two largest sources of foreign direct investment* are Japan and England, also the location of the region’s two direct intercontinental flights.

How else does the airport increase the region’s global profile and competitiveness?

In 2012 alone, San Diego International Airport created $9.2 billion in annual economic activity and supported nearly 89,750 jobs in the San Diego region. Additionally, SAN served a record 18.7 million passengers during 2014, the highest total seen since 2007.

The airport is a travelers’ first impression of the region as well as their last thoughts. With the newly-completed Terminal 2 “Green Build” expansion, travelers coming through the airport experience the best San Diego has to offer. When your regional airport includes one of the nation's fastest growing breweries and is infused with local cuisine, visitors coming to San Diego understand why so many people want to work and live in the metro region.

As the U.S.’ closest major airport to a downtown urban core, it makes sense that innovative technologies and solutions easily permeate into the daily activity at SAN. As the busiest single runway in the U.S., San Diego has adapted and implemented new and innovative technologies to improve efficiency and ensure reliability as planes arrive and depart from the airport. In 2012, JAL was the first airline to debut the sleek, innovative 787 Dreamliner aircraft.

As Bowens adds, “With the advent of new aircraft models better suited to San Diego’s unique environment, coupled with a new regional export strategy, San Diego is poised to further expand its global reach.”

At San Diego’s Global Summit on March 11, Thella Bowens, president/CEO of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, will join other community leaders to discuss San Diego’s ability to compete on the global runway.

More information on March 11 is available here.

Next week: San Diego is not only home to one of the best universities in the nation, but one of the top 20 universities in the world. So how do we leverage these strengths of having one of the world’s most innovative universities in our global competitiveness plan? More on that, next week.

*Based on jobs in San Diego’s MSA in Foreign-owned establishments

Join us as we formally launch San Diego's Global Summit, a global competitiveness initiative, on March 11. Subscribe here to receive new posts every Wednesday on this topic.

January 27, 2015

GIA Logo

In the heart of Carlsbad sits the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). Since its founding in 1931, the institution has educated more than 350,000 professionals in virtually every sector of the jewelry industry.  But they are not just an educational institution – they’re also a jobs generator. Since 2013, GIA has brought on 130 diamond graders, and they’re looking to hire 80 entry-level positions in 2015.

From India, to Thailand, and the U.K, GIA has 17 locations worldwide, yet the company remains proudly headquartered in San Diego’s North County.

We sat with Stephen Morisseau, director of corporate communications at GIA, to learn more about the company’s growth plans and why they love calling Carlsbad home. 

1)Tell us about GIA
GIA’s campus in Carlsbad is unique in the gem and jewelry industry. First and foremost, we are an educational institution, helping people prepare for careers in the global gem and jewelry trade. Our students come to Carlsbad from across the country and around the world, taking home an excellent impression of the region and helping more people learn about San Diego. We conduct leading-edge research into gemstones. World-class scientists use our unique resources to delve into the nature and origin of diamonds, rubies, sapphires, pearls and many other gems. GIA’s campus in Carlsbad houses the Richard Liddicoat Gemological Library and Information Center, the largest and most complete collection of its kind. Lastly, we work to protect consumers by providing gemstone identification and grading reports that help ensure their trust in the gems and jewelry they purchase. 

Why Gia Chose San Diego

2) What are some advantages to being located in San Diego?
Being in San Diego with its well-connected infrastructure puts us close to our campuses and labs across the globe.  North County provides a great talent pool.

3) San Diego is full of dynamic companies, firms and service providers influencing global trends and innovation. Pick another San Diego company that is at the top of its game.
We are very proud to be part of the North County community. That said, the city of Carlsbad has done a great job of attracting new companies while maintaining the quality of life that makes this an attractive place for so many firms and people.

4) What do you anticipate for your company in five years? What do you anticipate for San Diego?
Global demand for educated, well-prepared professionals drives demand for our education programs, just as consumer interest in having an independent, third-party evaluation of the qualities of their gemstone jewelry drives demand for our identification and grading services. We anticipate continued growth, both as a global and a local institute. For San Diego, we see the region meeting the challenges of moving America’s Finest City forward.

January 23, 2015

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"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


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 21, 2015

Leading up to San Diego’s Global Summit on March 11, we’ll be giving a rundown of some panelists, guest speakers and programs involved in the Summit every Wednesday.

San Diego quote graphic

With new and stable city leadership, sustained recovery from the Great Recession, and a balanced city budget, San Diego is poised for future and sustained growth.

San Diego’s ability to maintain long-term economic growth and job creation will depend on its ability to attract additional investment and promote exports in the region’s key  industries.

Have no fear; San Diego’s leaders are prepared to do just that.

San Diego’s participation in the Global Cities Initiative (GCI) began in 2012 when the Brookings Institution selected San Diego as one of eight metro areas to participate in the Metropolitan Export Exchange program whose goal is to help regional leaders create and implement strategic action plans to increase exports. This effort culminated locally in the release of the Global San Diego Export Plan in early 2014 and the formation of the Global Competitiveness Council to champion international efforts.

The initial plan revealed some stark facts about San Diego’s position in the global economy. San Diego is the 17th largest metro by GDP and population in the U.S. but it ranks 49th in the US in terms of the percentage of jobs in foreign-owned firms and 61st in terms of export intensity. However, it also gave us an opportunity to change things.

Immediately following the release of the Export Plan, San Diego was selected as one of six cities to participate in a new pilot GCI program, the Metropolitan Foreign Investment Initiative. What started as a program focusing on educating leaders about the benefits of foreign direct investment (FDI) and helping regions create policies and programs to attract additional FDI evolved into cities actually creating a global trade and investment plan – which marries the action plans of increasing exports and attracting FDI.

Foreign direct investment may seem like an elusive term, but it can be defined as when a foreign entity invests in a domestic organization either by locating part of its business here or by infusing capital or buying a domestic business. The benefits of increasing exports and attracting FDI are key to San Diego’s future and sustained growth.  Global companies – those that export or receive foreign direct investment –  pay their employees higher wages, invest more in R&D, and increase the global exchange of ideas; all important and relevant if San Diego wants to compete in the international marketplace.

At San Diego’s Global Summit on March 11, EDC and its partners will release the region’s Global Trade and Investment Plan, a culmination of research, action plans, and programs which aim to increase the amount of foreign investment into the region and assist companies in the region in their effort to go global.

More information on March 11 is available here.

Next week, we’ll take a look at a regional asset that contributes more than $10 billion in economic activity and connects San Diego’s businesses and people to the globe. In regards to San Diego’s position in the global economy, there’s no place to go but up. 

Join us as we formally launch San Diego's Global Summit, a global competitiveness initiative, on March 11. Subscribe here to receive new posts every Wednesday on this topic.

January 20, 2015


EDC’s January Economic Snapshot, released last week, showed positive growth trends for San Diego's economy. The region's unemployment rate is down 1.6 percentage points from October 2013, adding 36,600 jobs from the previous year.

It’s employers like Eastridge Workforce Solutions (formerly known as The Eastridge Group) that help support this job growth locally. In the next five years, they expect to nearly double in size- an indicator that San Diego's economy, and the companies that support it, are growing.

We spoke with Seth Stein, president of workforce recruitment, to learn more about Eastridge’s growth plans and how they support San Diego’s innovation ecosystem.

1) Tell us about Eastridge Workforce Solutions.

As we often say, our team doesn’t have many hobbies. That’s because we spend all of our time creating and delivering uncommon workforce solutions.

The competition for talent is intensifying, and the management of a cross-functional workforce is increasingly complex. By delivering leading edge, technology-enabled workforce solutions, we help our clients recruit, retain, and manage exceptional talent.

We make some of the most difficult parts of workforce recruitment and management easy. For example, our Vendor Management Solution (VMS) provides real-time analytics on requisitions and staffing supplier performance, while streamlining time entry, time approval, and onboarding. 

We’re also fanatical with our approach to customer service. For example, we recently unified our 20 different brands into one: Eastridge Workforce Solutions. This unified brand allows our customers to easily utilize our entire portfolio of products and services, designed to optimize their workforce.

2) What are some advantages doing business in San Diego?

Why Eastridge Chose San Diego

While we serve our clients and candidates globally, San Diego is home. 

We are fortunate to have a thriving talent pool, unique economic differentiators, and an unmatched quality of life. Talent: San Diego has the highest percentage of bachelor’s degree holders with a STEM degree, among major regional peers, enabling companies to compete and grow. Economics: San Diego is home to industry-leading life sciences, cybersecurity, defense and aerospace companies, creating a diverse and strong economy. Quality of Life: Education, diversity, tourism, and climate truly make San Diego America’s Finest City.

3) San Diego is full of dynamic companies, firms and service providers influencing global trends and innovation. Pick another San Diego company that is at the top of its game.

Dexcom, Inc., is what San Diego is all about – an innovative life sciences leader and high-tech manufacturer. Dexcom is a medical device company focused on the design, development and commercialization of continuous glucose monitoring systems for use by people with diabetes. Having received FDA approval in 2006, they provide a system to conveniently manage diabetes to the 371 million people in the world impacted by the disease.

4) What do you anticipate for your company in five years?

The next five years will be the most innovative in our company’s history. In fact, we expect to more than double in size.

Our real-time analytics are giving companies the data they need to win the fierce competition for talent and to manage their internal resources more effectively. By automating traditionally labor-intensive functions, we are delivering resources at an unprecedented scale.

For example, last year alone, our Workforce Recruitment team helped a Fortune 50 company launch a new national team of 150 employees in 60 days.  Our Workforce Technology platform helped a global alternative energy company automate timekeeping and security while decreasing costs at utility grade solar sites across North America.  Our Workforce Management solutions helped one of the largest employers in San Diego increase both visibility and compliance in their workforce.

5) What do you anticipate for San Diego?

In the next five years, our region’s startup and innovation culture will continue to help companies thrive.  I am also confident we will continue to see an influx of young professionals moving to San Diego because it’s a great place to live, work and raise a family. It truly is a great time to be in San Diego. 

January 16, 2015

From the success of National Manufacturing Day to Nat Geo's decision to profile San Diego in its 'World Smart Cities" documentary, to efforts to defend the region's military assets, EDC worked with its partners to ensure San Diego continues to be a magnet for talent, capital and investment. Please check out our infographic displaying all these 2014 accomplishments.

January 15, 2015
Every quarter, San Diego Regional EDC analyzes key economic metrics that are important to understanding the regional economy and San Diego’s standing relative to other major metropolitan areas in the U.S. This issue covers data from the July 2014 to October 2014 quarter. 
In this issue, EDC presents updates on trends in employment, real estate and venture capital, with a special spotlight on the labor market in 2014. The spotlight provides an analysis of employment, unemployment and key sectors using annual 2014 employment data. 
Download the full snapshot to view all of the tables, graphs and trends for this quarter. 


The snapshot is made possible by 

Chase Logo

January 14, 2015
The post below is part of an on-going series leading up to San Diego's Global Summit, a global competitiveness initiative EDC will formally launch on March 11. Subscribe here to receive new posts every Wednesday on this topic.
A revolution is stirring in America. Like all great revolutions, one starts with a simple but profound truth: Cities and metropolitan areas are the engines of economic prosperity and social transformation in the United States.” – Bruce Katz and Jennifer Bradley, The Metropolitan Revolution
The Great Recession had profound impacts on the national economy: businesses closed; unemployment increased; homes were liquidated. The U.S. experienced the repercussions of taking on large debt and focusing on consumption rather than production, innovation, and entrepreneurship. 

metro revolutaion

Enter Bruce Katz.  
Katz wrote The Metropolitan Revolution as a response to the inaction of the federal government to move the national economy in the right direction. Metropolitan regions, Katz argues, will drive the future growth and prosperity of the U.S. economy, not the federal government.
The top 100 metropolitan regions of the United States hold only 12 percent of the total land mass but they account for more than 66 percent of the nation’s population. With this high concentration of people, these economic powerhouses account for 75 percent of the entire country’s GDP, and 78 percent the nation’s patents - a sign of regions' innovative power. 


Top 100 metros

Credit: The Brookings Institute 

Putting words into action, Katz and his team at the Metropolitan Policy Program launched the Global Cities Initiative, a five-year project of Brookings and JPMorgan Chase aimed at helping the leaders of metropolitan areas strengthen their regional economies by becoming more competitive in the global marketplace.

On March 11, EDC and partners will publicly launch San Diego's Global Summit presented by JP Morgan Chase with Katz by our side. Katz will be keynoting the event , where he will discuss San Diego’s – and other metros’ – strength in the global economy. In particular, his keynote will discuss San Diego's ability to innovate and adapt to world-changing events and grow its economy.

More information about San Diego's Global Summit on March 11 is available here.

Leading up to March 11, we’ll be giving a rundown of some panelists, guest speakers and programs involved in San Diego's Global Summit every Wednesday on our blog.

Next week: where does San Diego stack up when it comes to its ranking in the national economy? Here’s a hint:  We’re 17th in GDP and population, but 61st in export intensity. As a region,we have the opportunity to change this.

January 13, 2015

Citizens Business Bank Logo

In early 2014, Citizens Business Bank – a financial services company based in the Inland Empire – made the decision to open up shop in San Diego. Bringing its focus on community-centric banking to the region, they set out to tap into San Diego’s strong manufacturing and real estate firms. In less than a year of operations in the San Diego market, they have already had much success. 
A newcomer to EDC’s investor list, we sat down with Paul Rodeno, Senior Vice President, Regional Manager of Citizens Business Bank in San Diego, to learn about this bank’s regional growth plan.


1) Tell us about Citizens Business Bank
Citizens Business Bank is a financial services company with a bank at its core. Our roots in community banking lend us a unique capability to provide large bank products and solutions with the hands-on touch and personal attention of a local community bank. We provide business banking solutions across government and nonprofit organizations, as well as industrial, title & escrow, dairy & livestock, medical, property management, and real estate industries, among many others.  For over 40 years, Citizens Business Bank has thoughtfully emphasized and represented what is great and essential about community banking: a focused approach on the customer, and the many ways the bank can help them achieve more for their business, their employees, and the customers and communities they serve. 
2) What are some advantages to being located/doing business in San Diego? 
Why Citizens Business Bank Chose SanDiegoThe San Diego market is made up of many successful small to medium-sized businesses, our target customer base. There are a great number of these successful businesses that are looking for a valued financial partner to help them thrive, which is why we knew San Diego was a good market for our recent expansion.
We aim to work with the best privately-held and/or family-owned businesses throughout California, and will maintain our focus across industrial, manufacturing, medical, property management, title & escrow, nonprofit, and agriculture businesses. All of these industries are well-represented across the region’s dynamic economy.
3) San Diego is full of dynamic companies, firms and service providers influencing global trends and innovation. Pick another San Diego company that is at the top of its game. 
It’s impossible to pick one company, so here are a few: Qualcomm, with a great local and international presence, is an iconic brand. Add other innovators, such as ViaSat, Stone Brewing Co., who is leading the craft brewing boom, and action sports firms such as Nixon, SKLZ, and prAna.  San Diego State University, my alma mater, has a tremendous entrepreneurship focus; and the University of San Diego, where I sit on the board of the School of Business, has great rankings, which contribute to the growth of ideas while educating future leaders. As a great local non-profit, California Southern Small Business Development Corporation is a community development lender providing over 600 loans totaling $56,000,000 in the past five years.
4) What do you anticipate for your company in five years? 
Citizens Business Bank will be the premier business and community bank in the State of California with a focus on continued growth, enhanced lending initiatives, acquisitions, and our valued relationships with our customers.

January 6, 2015

211 San Diego logo

We kick off our first investor spotlight of 2015 with an interview with John Ohanian, CEO of 2-1-1 San Diego, to learn more about how this valuable organization connects with the business community and makes San Diego a better place to live.
Tell us about 2-1-1 San Diego.
Most San Diegans know when there is a disaster, like a wildfire, they can dial 2-1-1 to speak to a live person 24/7 to get the most up-to-date information on evacuations, road closures and shelter information.
What most people may not know is they can turn to 2-1-1 any time to connect to more than 6,000 community and health services, including affordable health insurance to food or financial assistance, housing resources, substance abuse treatment, care for a child or parent with dementia, resources for our military and veteran community or a grandparent raising their grandchildren. With thousands of services in our community, finding help can sometimes seem impossible. And that’s where 2-1-1 San Diego comes in. 
2-1-1 also provides vital trend information on community needs to foundations and government officials to assist leaders assess and plan for a better future for the San Diego region.
What makes San Diego a good place to operate an organization like 2-1-1?
Why 2-1-1 thrives in San Diego The secret behind 2-1-1’s service is its uniqueness and flexibility in working with thousands of providers to streamline how people access resources in our community. It’s this collaborative spirit of organizations and leaders throughout San Diego that make this region a great place to operate a social utility like 2-1-1. 
While 2-1-1 is not a government agency, but rather a local nonprofit organization with an established business model of fee-for-service contracts, we have strong and longstanding partnerships with corporate, philanthropic and government partners like the County of San Diego, SDG&E, Qualcomm, and Susan G. Komen that have changed the San Diego landscape of how people connect to community resources. 
Whether it’s establishing technology roadmaps together to make sure 2-1-1 is ahead of the curve to better serve the community, or providing a one-stop-shop for people seeking resources for breast cancer, to utilizing 2-1-1’s contact center platform to raise awareness about benefits callers are entitled to, 2-1-1 and our valuable partners work together to meet the needs of our community.
San Diego is full of dynamic companies, firms and service providers influencing global trends and innovation. Pick another San Diego company or organization that is at the top of its game. 
For 40 years, Nuffer, Smith, Tucker has been a leading community pillar in San Diego. Offering all the bells and whistles of a high profile corporate entity, Nuffer, Smith, Tucker fashions itself a boutique communications firm, providing trusting and intimate client/executive relationships and high-quality creative services through reliable and trusting staff who take clients on journeys to explore possibilities. They take ideas and create a vision, and then bring that vision to life. 
What do you anticipate for your organization in five years? What do you anticipate for San Diego? 
At our 10-year milestone, 2-1-1 has made more than 2.5 million connections to community, health and disaster services.  
When we reflect on those connections, we see our community connecting with us in multiple channels, beyond our easy to remember 3-digit phone number.  We are developing mobile websites, apps and engaging our social media platforms and chat capabilities.   We envision a community-wide ecosystem of organizations that share data, resources, and solutions; and ultimately where customers, 2-1-1 and service providers work toward solutions together. 
We are currently working with our public safety partners to ensure that 2-1-1 can provide assistance directly with First Responders when they face families and individuals with daily non-emergency needs such as food, housing and other health care options.  We are also building on existing partnerships with fire, police and other jurisdictions to share critical information during times crisis. 
In our immediate future, we are kicking off our 10-year anniversary at the Annual 2-1-1 Connections Luncheon on February 20 at the San Diego Convention Center.