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The Big Picture San Diego Blog

November 2014 U.S. Metro Employment Comparison

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.


  • 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.