Skip to Content
The Big Picture San Diego Blog

September 2015 U.S. Metro Employment Comparison

November 3, 2015

Recently, EDC released its September Manpower Monthly Employment Report. Since then, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has released September 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 4.6 percent, San Diego’s unemployment rate ranked 9th among the 25 most populous U.S. metros.
  • From September 2014 to September 2015, San Diego's unemployment rate fell by -1.5 percentage points, which ranked 4th.
  • San Diego's total employment grew by 3.5 percent from September 2014 to September 2015, which ranked 2nd.
  • San Diego's employment in professional, scientific and technical services (PST) grew by 7.4 percentwhich ranked 2nd.
  • Manufacturing in San Diego grew by 2.6 percent from the previous year, the 4th highest growth rate.

[Unmployment Chart]

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently released employment data for the September 2015 period for all U.S. metro areas. At 4.6 percent, San Diego County’s unemployment rate fell by 1.5 points from this time last year. This was the 4th largest drop in the nation, among the 25 most populous U.S. metros, and the three metros with larger drops have the three highest unemployment rates. That fall put San Diego's rank at 9th among major U.S. metros and it remained below the U.S. overall rate of 4.9 percent.  

[Employment Chart]

When looking at employment growth, San Diego outpaced most of the nation. From September 2014 to September 2015, the region's employment grew by 3.5 percent, which ranked 2nd among the 25 most populous U.S. metros. The U.S. average growth rate was at only 1.9 percent. Growth has slowed substantially across the U.S. in the past few months, but San Diego has consistently outpaced the national employment growth this year and has been among the top competitive metros in the nation.

[PST Chart]

San Diego's innovation economy is largely driving the region's growth. The region is outpacing all other major metros in professional, scientific and technical services (PST) growth except San Francisco. 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 7.4 percent since last September, the 2nd most out of any metro shown here. This figure was double the U.S. average and far ahead of other top tech markets like Seattle, Boston, and New York, which is a positive sign for the state and region's key traded clusters.

[MFG Chart]

San Diego's manufacturing sector also led most of the nation. 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 September 2014 to September 2015, manufacturing employment grew by 2.6 percent. San Diego's manufacturing employment growth was more than triple the U.S. rate of 0.7 percent. The region recorded the 4th highest growth rate among major U.S. metros. Only Detroit, Riverside, and Portland showed stronger growth than San Diego.

So while many key peer metros and the nation as a whole show signs of slower growth, San Diego's economy continues to buck that trend. More importantly, critical sectors like PST and manufacturing are not only showing signs of growth, they're outpacing nearly all of the region's key peers.

EDC will be releasing the Manpower Employment Report with October 2015 data for San Diego on Friday, November 20thThank you to Manpower-SD for their ongoing support of EDC's employment trends research.