Skip to Content
The Big Picture San Diego Blog

June 2015

June 23, 2015

When Mark Cafferty was recruited to take the reins at EDC in 2011, his first assignment was simple. Then executive committee member Vincent Mudd asked him to “tell us what the cover of Fortune Magazine will look like in five years.” A few days later, Mark came back with a well-crafted cover displayed in English, Spanish and Japanese. It is anecdotes like this that have defined EDC over the past 50 years.

Almost five years later, Vincent Mudd, now serving as chairman of EDC, delivered his annual talk at EDC’s 50th Annual Dinner.  Combing through the archives, he pays homage to EDC’s past – recounting the transformative leadership that has shaped the region  – and gives us a glimpse into what the future might look like.

Watch below: 

June 19, 2015


“Unemployment claims are nearly a fifth of what they were a year ago, with more than 17,000 fewer San Diegans unemployed. Meanwhile, the labor force has grown by more than 26,000, which shows that people are optimistic about getting back to work in the region.”

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 May 2015 period. This month’s data shows that unemployment remained below five percent in May, as the economy continued to grow at an accelerated rate.

The unemployment rate remained below 5 percent at 4.9 percent. The rate is 1.3 points lower than the previous year and 0.1 points higher than the previous month. The U.S. and California average rates also increased to 5.3 percent and 6.2 percent respectively.

Unemployment Rate

While the unemployment rate experienced a slight uptick, the labor report was generally positive. Unemployment claims fell by 17,200 since May 2014, an 18.2 percent drop. At the same time, the labor force grew by 26,500 from May 2014 to May 2015 as the employers added more than 42,000 jobs. While labor force growth in May is typical in the region, the scale is much greater than in past years. This indicates that job seekers are becoming more confident as employers continue to add jobs

When looking at monthly or seasonal employment, San Diego County employers added 9,500 jobs from April to May. Goods-producers like construction and manufacturing added 2,300 jobs or roughly one quarter of all employment, while tourism accounted for more than half of the seasonal growth.

Unemployment Claims

From a year-to-year or non-seasonal perspective, the region’s economy grew by 3.2 percent, adding 42,400 jobs from May 2014 to May 2015. The year-to-year growth rate in San Diego continued to outpace the national average of 2.2 percent. Employment growth slowed slightly in the past few months, dipping below three percent, so this month's report is a positive sign that the slowing wasn't a pattern.

The private sector economy accounted for 93.9 percent of the year-to-year job growth and grew by 3.6 percent. This rate also outpaced the U.S. growth rate, which was 2.6 percent over that same period. This job growth continued to be fueled by key sectors and employment did not fall in any sectors in the regional economy. Construction grew by 7.1 percent and added 4,500 jobs. Ship and boat building grew by 18.3 percent and added 1,100 jobs. While manufacturing growth has been a concern in recent reports due to slow growth, the industry picked up the pace in May, growing by 2.2 percent, the highest annual rate since March of 2013.


Innovation service sectors have continued to show high job growth through 2015. The professional, scientific and technical services (PST) sector grew by 6.6 percent year-to-year, and accounted for approximately one-fifth of the annual job growth. 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 4.3 percent since last May.

The region’s tourism industry continued to show high year-to-year and seasonal growth as well. The leisure and hospitality industry added 8,500 jobs from May 2014 to May 2015, which is about 4.8 percent growth. The industry added 4,900 jobs from April to May, likely due to the ramping up of tourism season in the region. Employment services or staffing agencies experienced high growth in May. The industry added 500 jobs from March to April and 1,200 jobs since the previous year as people are getting back to work.

Year-to-Year Growth

The May labor market report was a great sign for the continued health of the region's economy. While the unemployment rate increased, it remained below five percent amid high labor force growth. Unemployment claims continued to fall year-to-year as the economy continued to grow at a pace well-above the national average. Growth remains concentrated in our traded economy sectors, like tourism and innovation, and in middle-to-high wage industries, like health care and construction. It will be interesting to see if this these positive signs will lead to continued growth in labor force through the summer months.

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.


June 19, 2015

Since its launch in 2014 as part of Governor Jerry Brown’s economic development initiative, the California Competes Tax Credit has awarded close to $124 million in credits to California companies that will hire 24,088 jobs over the next five years.

Yesterday, the Cal Competes Tax Credit Committee voted to approve an additional $47 million in tax credits, which will create 11,343 additional jobs, closing out FY14-15 - the first full year of the program. Since the programs inception, 242 companies have received tax credits totaling more than $171.5 million; more than 35,430 jobs will be created and $9.74 billion invested in the state’s economy.

San Diego companies are received more than $19.9 million of these tax credits, or 11.6 percent of all tax credits awarded throughout the state. These funds will help San Diego companies create 3,968 jobs, invest more than $877 million back into their respective companies, and pay more than $646 million in wages over the next five years. 

Companies such as BAE Systems, iboss Cybersecurity, Modern Times, NASSCO and Underground Elephant were awarded these credits.

After the vote next week, San Diego is positioned to rank 2nd in terms of the amount of jobs created and 4th in the amount of tax credits won.

Regional Breakdown of Cal Competes Awards

June 16, 2015


This week we sat down with CEO and founder of Innovative Commercial Environments (ICE), DeLinda Forsythe to learn more about their full service capabilities providing office and hospitality furniture. ICE provides their customers with the ideal furniture solutions. 

1)Tell us about Innovative Commercial Environments (ICE).

ICE is a full service hospitality and office furniture dealership.  We help organizations consciously build their corporate culture.  Furniture design has truly evolved and is an unconventional effective way to build your business culture. ICE plans furniture solutions that encourage a company’s staff to connect, play, solve problems together, fail, learn, grow; and ultimately “create magic.”   We use furniture as a tool to build an empowered corporate culture.

Inspired by “The Rainforest” book a rainforest corporate culture is not a mere business theory; it provides a new paradigm for policies and strategies that transcend the way businesses have traditionally worked.  A rainforest environment in an office eliminates hierarchy and encourages teamwork.  The mechanisms of a rainforest touch the heart of a company, making it more efficient and innovative.  It creates an interior environment where vibrant engagement makes it possible to build a culture of inspiration.  Employees working for a common goal will build an inspired company.

Why ICE chose San Diego Final

2) What are some advantages to being located and doing business in San Diego?

I’ve been in the furniture business for 30 years, starting the first 7 years in Phoenix then San Ramon.  I know how it feels to work in other cities.  There is an amazing camaraderie, warmth and authenticity about San Diego.  We are an intimate 1.3 million!  People genuinely care and want to support each other, our charities and our homegrown companies.  There is no other city I’d rather work, play and live in because of our inclusive community spirit.  I started ICE from a spare bedroom 9 years ago.  From those humble beginnings we’ve made the SDBJ 100 Fastest Growing Companies in San Diego the last 3 years!  It is this inclusiveness that has led to our successful growth.

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.

Cybersecurity is one of the fastest growing industries and iboss Cybersecurity is one of San Diego’s fastest growing companies.  According to the Deloitte Fast 500, iboss is the #3 security company with over 60+ patents and patents pending. They also have an industry-leading customer retention rate of over 98.5%. iboss’ rapid growth has fueled both domestic and international expansion.  Its North American headquarters is in San Diego and they’re one to watch!

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

I believe San Diego, along with our neighbor to the south in Tijuana, is poised for explosive growth.  It is vital that we are all politically knowledgeable and engaged. It is our politicians that will lead us legislatively to grow intelligently and protect our environment.  Mixed-use urban and suburban development, which reduces the need to travel, serves every demographic from our seniors to our young families and we must support these projects and adequately plan for this essential, smart growth. 

Everyone now knows what we’ve all known. We are one of the world’s smartest cities and we should be very proud of what we’ve created.


June 11, 2015

Recently, EDC released its April Manpower Monthly Employment Report. Since then, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has released April 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.


  • At 4.8 percent, San Diego’s unemployment rate ranked 11th among the 25 most populous U.S. metros.
  • From April 2014 to April 2015, San Diego's unemployment rate fell by -1.3 percentage points, which ranked 4th.
  • San Diego's total employment grew by 2.6 percent from April 2014 to April 2015, which ranked 7th.
  • San Diego's employment in professional, scientific and technical services (PST) grew by 6.4 percentwhich ranked 4th.
  • Manufacturing in San Diego grew by 1.9 percent from the previous year, the 9th highest growth rate.

[Unmployment Chart]

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently released employment data for the April 2015 period for all U.S. metro areas. At 4.8 percent, San Diego County’s unemployment rate fell by 1.3 points from this time last year. This was the 4th largest drop in the nation, among the 25 most populous U.S. metros. That fall kept San Diego's rank at 11th among major U.S. metros and it remained below the U.S. overall rate of 5.1 percent.  

[Employment Chart]

When looking at employment growth, San Diego remained well above the national average. From April 2014 to April 2015, the region's employment grew by 2.6 percent, which ranked 7th among the 25 most populous U.S. metros. The U.S. average growth rate was at only 1.4 percent. Growth has slowed substantially across the U.S., but San Diego has consistently outpaced the national employment growth this year and has been among the top 10 competitive metros in the nation.

[PST Chart]

San Diego's innovation economy is largely driving the region's growth. The region is outpacing nearly 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 6.4 percent since last April, the 4th most out of any metro studied here. This figure was nearly double the U.S. average and only behind Seattle and California peers San Francisco and Riverside, which is a positive sign for the state and region's key traded clusters.

[MFG Chart]

San Diego's manufacturing sector growth picked up a bit in April. 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 April 2014 to April 2015, manufacturing employment grew by 1.9 percent. San Diego's manufacturing employment growth was above the U.S. rate of 1.6 percent. The region recorded the 9th highest growth rate among major U.S. metros. San Diego's position remained unchanged this month, but it's employment growth is much higher than it has been in past months. In the previous 12 months, the region's average annual growth rate was 1.3 percent, so the 1.9 percent growth recorded in April is a good sign for manufacturing employment.

While overall employment growth and growth in our manufacturing sector again wasn't comparatively stellar, the region's economy is still generally tracking well above the U.S. average and many of its peers. Unemployment is lower than average and experienced one of the largest annual drops in the nation. Meanwhile, our PST industry continues to be among the fastest growing in the nation.

EDC will be releasing the Manpower Employment Report with May 2015 data for San Diego on Friday, June 19thThank you to Manpower-SD for their ongoing support of EDC's employment trends research.

June 5, 2015

Last night, we were joined by more than 800 of our closest friends at SeaWorld to celebrate our 50th Anniversary. A lot has changed over the past 50 years, but one thing has remained constant: through it all, we’ve told a story about a region that we’re proud to call home.

These are some of the people that have helped write that story:

EDC legacy leaders

And as we embark on the next 50 years, we know the faces will probably look at little more like this:

EDC present leaders

Our fearless chairman Vince Mudd summed it up when he said “While we know technology and science will continue to change at light speed, we also know the same principles – innovation, leadership and collaboration – that carried and guided us in the past, will continue to carry and guide us long into the future."

Thank you to all who celebrated with us last night.


June 2, 2015

This week we sat down with senior director at BNY Mellon, David Noosinow to learn more about what BNY Mellon has in store for the future - as they collaborate with businesses in the region, provide wealth management expertise and lead in global investment.

1) Tell us about BNY Mellon.

Started by Alexander Hamilton in 1784, BNY Mellon is one of the longest-lasting financial institutions in the world. We have endured, innovated and prospered through every economic event and market in the past 230 years. We serve exceptional clients-- many of the world’s leading investors. They rely on us to connect them to opportunities in 100 markets across 35 countries. Our extraordinary people –  experts in their field – make it possible.

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

When I moved to San Diego in December of 2013 to help establish our new office in Del Mar, my primary motivation was to be close to my family, especially my daughter Averi who is in her first year at Mesa College. Before I moved to San Diego, I did not know about the breadth of industries from cyber to healthcare. And innovation is happening in every industry. In San Diego, not only will you  find global leadership in life science, but also a growing technology center, cyber security, sports and active lifestyle, and let’s not forget all the great craft brewing companies on the 78 Corridor.

I would be remiss if I didn’t point out one of the biggest advantages the region provides is its active lifestyle. San Diego is where innovation and lifestyle collide.

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.

I prefer to share my thoughts on the San Diego business community: I have had the fortune to develop many markets in my career, however, I have never experienced a town where the business community and professionals are as collaborative and genuinely supportive of helping our firm establish our regional presence.

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

 In five years, I anticipate BNY Mellon will be the preeminent investment firm in San Diego; supporting innovation and the growth of the business community in the region, and the  business owners and entrepreneurs that our leading the way. After watching the National Geographic’s “World’s Smart Cites” documentary about San Diego, I see the region much in the same way I see many of the startup companies in our accelerators: thriving with life and global potential.   It’s a good time to be in San Diego.