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The Big Picture San Diego Blog

April 2015 U.S. Metro Employment Comparison

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.