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The Big Picture San Diego Blog

October 2014 U.S. Metro Employment Comparison

December 10, 2014

Recently, EDC released its Manpower Monthly Employment Report. Since then, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has released October 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 17th among the 25 most populous U.S. metros.
  • From October 2013 to October 2014, San Diego's unemployment rate fell by -1.6 percentage points, which ranked 8th.
  • San Diego's employment grew by more than 2.6 percent from October 2013 to October 2014, which ranked 8th.
  • San Diego's employment in professional, scientific and technical services (PST) grew by 5.0 percent, the 5th highest growth rate.
  • Manufacturing in San Diego grew more than 3.6 percent from the previous year, the 4th highest growth rate.

[Unemployment Chart]

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently released employment data for the October 2014 period for all U.S. metro areas. At 5.8 percent, San Diego County’s unemployment rate fell by 1.6 points from this time last year. San Diego's rate ranked 17th 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 October 2013 to October 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.

[Employment Chart]

When looking at employment growth, San Diego was one of the highest growing metros. From October 2013 to October 2014, the region's employment grew by more than 2.6 percent, which ranked 8th among the 25 most populous U.S. metros. The U.S. average growth rate was only 2 percent.

[PST Chart]

While San Diego's overall growth is very positive, we continued to see 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 higher growth in in September (7.2 percent), employment in the region's PST sector grew by 5.0 percent since last October, still much higher than the U.S. average of 3.1 percent. San Diego ranked 5th among the 25 most populous U.S. metros in this measure, which is a positive sign for the region's key traded clusters.

[MFG Chart]

We saw 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 October 2013 to October 2014, manufacturing employment grew by 3.6 percent, which was faster than the region's overall growth rate. San Diego's manufacturing employment grew at twice the rate of the U.S., and recorded the 4th highest growth rate among major U.S. metros. 

While we already knew San Diego's October figures were positive, as we wrote in our most recent Manpower Monthly Employment Report, it remains important to understand San Diego's growth relative to its peers. San Diego continues to fare better than most in employment growth. Unemployment numbers are improving, but still lagging behind the U.S. and other key peer metros, which is something to remain cautious about. At this point, we know that November was very strong month nationally, in which the U.S. added 321,000 jobs, the most in almost three years. We also saw positive growth in temp jobs in November, according to Staffing Industry Analysts. It will be exciting to see how these figures are reflected by San Diego businesses and job seekers, which we will detail in November's Manpower Monthly Employment Report next Friday, December 19th, when the California Employment Development Department Releases the data.

Thank you to Manpower-SD for their ongoing support of EDC's employment trends research.