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The Big Picture San Diego Blog

Manpower Employment Report: October 2014

November 21, 2014

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“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.


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.


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.