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The Big Picture San Diego Blog


Economic Drivers

April 9, 2019

Launched in September 2018, Defense Innovation Voucher Program (DIV) is a comprehensive business initiative designed to build resiliency in small, local defense companies and help find pathways to diversify its revenues. Since the beginning of the program, Propel San Diego partners—guided by the San Diego Regional EDC—have provided hands-on services to assist 15 San Diego-based companies.

Continuing these efforts, in Q1 2019, EDC hosted three executive education boot camps for cohort companies. Collectively, these boot camps had more than50 people in attendance and covered topics including branding and marketing, small business contracting at SPAWAR, and cybersecurity standards.

Each session brought in regional experts and gave companies a chance to ask specific questions about their businesses. Presenters included Mark McLain the Director of Small Business Program at SPAWAR, James Sly the Vice President of the East County EDC, with organizations including California Manufacturing and Technology Consultants (CMTC), National Defense Industrial Association, Raindrop Marketing, and Seer Interactive also participating.  

On May 23, five DIV companies, chosen by an independent judging panel and EDC staff, will have the opportunity to compete for a $25,000 Grand Prize at the inaugural DIV Pitchfest. Be a judge at this first-ever event, where attendees will be voting on the innovative defense company that’s most deserving of additional funding! Learn more and reserve your ticket to DIV Pitchfest here

DIV is made possible through the generous support of presenting sponsor Booz Allen Hamilton along with Community Economic Adjustment Assistance for Reductions in Defense Industry Employment funds provided by the U.S. Department of Defense Office of Economic Adjustment to the City of San Diego.

March 29, 2019

San Diego took home some serious hardware at the California Association for Local Economic Development Awards of Excellence. The awards recognize outstanding contributions to the field of economic development throughout the mighty state of California. 

Awards of Merit include:

The City of San Marcos was also recognized with the Award of Excellence - Collaborations, for its California Competes Tax Credit Collaboration with EDC. And of course, EDC didn't leave empty-handed either, taking home the Award of Excellence - Promotions for San Diego: Life. Changing. Make sure to check out SDlifechanging.org, and give them a follow on social to learn more. Share your story using #SDlifechanging.

We'll see you next year, CALED. 

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March 27, 2019

Every quarter San Diego Regional EDC analyzes key economic indicators that are important to understanding the regional economy and the region’s standing relative to the 25 most populous metropolitan areas in the U.S. This issue covers data from Q4 2018.

Recovering from a decrease in employment during Q3, San Diego, and 24 of the most populous metros, experienced an increase in total nonfarm employment during Q4. Ramping up for the holiday season, the region added 21,500 jobs – a 1.4 percent increase in employment during the quarter. Compared to a year ago, nonfarm employment was up 25,400 jobs, or 1.7 percent. 

Meanwhile, San Diego’s unemployment rate was 3.2 percent in Q4, unchanged from Q3.

Key findings from the snapshot:

  • San Diego closed Q4 with an unemployment rate of 3.2 percent and the sixth lowest among the 25 most populous metros.

  • With the holiday season in full bloom, the retail sector continued to grow, adding 8,500 jobs in Q4. Other strong contributors to the quarterly employment growth were education and health services, and transportation and utilities, together adding 4,100 jobs.  

  • Year-over-year, the region’s median home price continued to climb, growing by 2.6 percent.

  • VC dollars in the region increased 21.4 percent compared to the previous quarter.

Quarterly Economic Snapshot analyzes key economic indicators that are important to understanding the regional economy and the region’s standing relative to the 25 most populous metropolitan areas in the U.S. This releases includes data from October to December (Q4) 2018.

San Diego's Quarterly Economic Snapshot - March 2019 from San Diego Regional EDC on Vimeo.

March 22, 2019

Each month the California Employment Development Department (EDD) releases employment data for the prior month. This edition of San Diego's Economic Pulse covers February 2019. Check out EDC's research bureau for more data and stats about San Diego's economy. 

Thank you to Manpower San Diego for making this possible.

Highlights include:

·         The region’s unemployment rate was 3.5 percent in February, down from a revised 3.8 percent in January, and unchanged from the year-ago estimate of 3.5 percent.

·         San Diego’s unemployment rate remains below both the state rate of 4.4 percent and the national rate of 4.1 percent.

·         The labor force grew by 3,700 workers during the month and is now up 24,600 compared to a year ago.

·         Total nonfarm employment is up 9,700 in February and up 19,900 over the year.

·         The largest employment gain over the year occurred in educational and healthcare services, which added 6,900 jobs. 

March 14, 2019

In a world where Internet-enabled devices have become embedded in everyday objects, the need for cybersecurity has never been more vital. San Diego's roots in wireless technology, combined with its top tier engineering talent and military presence, make it a fertile ground for cybersecurity talent. And that's exactly what EDC's most recent economic impact study found.

cybersecurity economic impact numbers in SD

Commissioned by San Diego Cyber Center of Excellence, a San Diego-based nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the region’s cyber economy, the study found that San Diego had more than 150 core cyber firms that employ 4,920 people in the region. The Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR)* provides an additional3,530 jobs to San Diego’s cybersecurity industry. In total, there are 8,450 direct jobs – up 11 percent from 2016 (faster than the regional employment growth of 3 percent). 

"Too often San Diego worries about falling behind Silicon Valley or the East Coast, but this study conveys we have the talent and workforce to punch above our weight," said Rear Admiral (Ret), Ken Slaght, CCOE chair and president of Cyber Center of Excellence. "San Diego's premier educational institutions, existing industry base and robust federal assets, seed not only the cyber workforce but the innovation needed to protect our nation."

The study was launched at Qualcomm on March 13, and featured a keynote from Dr. John Zangardi, CIO at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, as well as an in-depth look at the interactive research tool, presented by EDC's Research Director Kirby Brady.

View the interactive tool here.

*In June 2019, SPAWAR changed its name to Naval Information Warfare Systems Command (NAVWAR).

March 12, 2019

With many economists forecasting an economic downturn in the years ahead, small businesses are often the most vulnerable to a changing economy. However, a new survey released by Innovate78 – a collaboration among Carlsbad, Escondido, Oceanside, San Marcos and Vista – found that small businesses are feeling optimistic about the future. In fact, 85 percent of small businesses along the 78 Corridor project financial growth over the next two years, demonstrating stability in San Diego’s North County.

“Most small business owners are so busy running their companies, that they don't have time to step back and leverage the resources available to them,” said Michelle Geller, Economic Development Manager for the City of Escondido. “As part of Innovate78, we are taking a collaborative, data-driven approach to understand their business’ needs. Using the data from this study, we will be able to better collaborate with regional partners to ensure these businesses remain viable and a key economic engine in North County.”

The Small Business Ecosystem Along the 78 Corridor” surveyed 164 small businesses – firms with fewer than 100 employees – as a way to uncover insight and gain a deeper understanding of small business perceptions of the regional business climate.

According to EMSI, small businesses make up 98 percent of the 78 Corridor’s businesses – mirroring the broader San Diego region.

KEY FINDINGS:

  • Businesses are growing.  Over the next two years, 85 percent expect to grow in terms of financial performance.
  • Companies have a focus on local customers. In total, 69 percent said their customers were primarily in Southern California, whereas only 7 percent said their customers were primarily international.
  • Job growth will continue to be fueled by small businesses. Over the next two years, 45 percent of 78 Corridor small businesses project employment growth, while only 6 percent say they will have fewer employees.
  • Generating new sales is the biggest need for small business owners. A majority –88 percent – of small businesses said sales/new business was a challenge. As a way to generate sales, survey respondents identified ‘marketing’ as their highest future priority. 
  •  Connecting to resources is imperative. Small business identified needing assistance with financing, marketing and business development. However, many cited a lack of knowledge of available resource providers, like municipalities, economic development organizations, and chambers of commerce.

 “A quick glance at the data confirms that small businesses are a key driver for our economy. But when you dig a little deeper, you uncover trends that are key to understanding the 78 Corridor’s competitive advantage,” said Kirby Brady, director of research at EDC and the author of this study. “The study shows that small businesses along the 78 Corridor are both profitable and resilient.”

The study concluded that 73 percent of Innovate78 small businesses reported financial growth in the past two years, and 62 percent of businesses have been operating for more than five years, a metric often associated with resiliency. According to the Small Business Administration, nearly 50 percent of small businesses fail before the five-year mark. While not a direct comparison, this data suggests that small businesses along the 78 Corridor are outlasting U.S. small businesses.  

CHALLENGES AHEAD:

While Innovate78 businesses are faring well collectively, many challenges remain. With the 78 Corridor’s December 2018 unemployment rate at 3.2 percent, finding skilled talent is increasingly difficult – a trend many rapidly growing regions across the country are facing.

 “From hiring to finding new customers, I face many challenges on a day-to-day basis that I did not anticipate before starting my own business,” said Jiang Fan, president of Carlsbad-based American Lithium Energy. “While these are trials that many small business owners face, I believe that because of the 78 Corridor’s unique access to both San Diego and Orange County’s labor market, as well as the abundant resources the cities offer, that there’s never been a better time to own a small business on the 78 Corridor.”

If you are a business along the 78 Corridor and are looking to connect with available resources, please visit Innovate78’s resource page and/or contact your city’s economic development department directly.

Read the study here.

 

March 6, 2019

Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer, Apple Vice President Kristina Raspe and regional leaders announced today that the technology company will increase its employment in San Diego by an additional 20 percent over previously announced numbers.

Apple now plans to add 1,200 employees in San Diego within the next three years, with almost 200 of those employees in place by the end of the year. As part of a nationwide expansion, Apple announced in December that it would establish a new site and job opportunities in San Diego.

“Apple has been a part of San Diego for nearly 20 years through our retail presence and small, fast-growing teams – and with this new investment we are proud to play an even greater part in the city’s future,” said Tim Cook, Apple CEO. “You don’t have to try too hard to convince people that San Diego is a great place to live, work and do business, and we’re confident our employees will have a great home among the community there.”

Apple cited San Diego’s successful efforts to diversify its economy, incubate new industries, broaden its talent pool, build partnerships between academia and the business community, and maintain a superb quality of life as reasons for its expansion to America’s Finest City.

“There isn’t a city in the U.S. that can offer the talent, infrastructure and community that San Diego can,” said Mayor Faulconer. “I invited Apple to increase its growth in San Diego, and on behalf of a grateful city we’re delighted they accepted our invitation. Apple’s inventions have literally changed the world, revolutionizing how we communicate, create, do business and learn. As Apple continues to innovate and introduce new products, we will be proud to say that San Diego is a part of it.”

Apple and Mayor Faulconer met over recent weeks to discuss the company’s growth plans.

“We were excited to announce in December that we planned to grow our presence here and add one thousand jobs, and then Mayor Faulconer and members of his team very thoughtfully and convincingly walked us through everything the San Diego region has to offer,” said Kristina Raspe, Apple Vice President of Global Real Estate and Facilities. “So we went back and sharpened our pencils and increased our investment.”

San Diego will become a principle engineering hub for Apple with new positions distributed across a number of specialty engineering fields, to include both hardware and software technologies. While Apple hasn’t yet settled on a location, plans are also underway to develop a campus that will feature hundreds of thousands of square feet of office, lab and research space. 

"Apple - with its vision, its brand and its products - could make a home anywhere across the globe,” said San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation Chair Janice Brown. “By selecting San Diego, they are showing that they value a place that prioritizes a rich talent pool, inclusive economy, and commitment to changing the world for the better."

In addition to its corporate and retail presence, Apple’s app ecosystem contributes to the San Diego economy. App developers who call San Diego home create products that reach customers around the world.

“Apple’s decision to increase the company’s presence in San Diego is a testament to the strong, talented workforce and intellectual capital we have in the region,” said Jerry Sanders, President and CEO of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce. “We look forward to the opportunities this investment brings for our entire region and the role San Diego will play in the future of Apple.”

Apple Fashion Valley, opened in 2001, was the company’s 21st store in the world. Apple currently employs 600 retail employees at its five stores in the region.

The company’s local teams over the years have helped support a number of organizations in San Diego, including the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank, Make-A-Wish San Diego, San Diego Humane Society, American Cancer Society, Zoological Society of San Diego, Cards for Kidz NFP, Braille Institute San Diego Center, and Challenged Athletes Foundation. 

 

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February 25, 2019

This blog post originally appeared on Innovate78's blog. Managed by EDC, Innovate78 is the collaborative outcome of five cities - Carlsbad, Escondido, Oceanside, San Marcos and Vista - coming together with a shared vision to boost economic prosperity along the 78 Corridor. 

A map of the region’s unique coworking spaces. (Courtesy of: Snazzy Maps and Rising Tide Partners) In addition to being home to many innovative companies, the 78 Corridor also houses a number of coworking spaces that contribute to the success of the local startup scene as well as the entire community. 

In addition to coworking spaces, another resource available to the region is Startup78, which is an initiative of Innovate78 and San Diego Regional EDC to unite and amplify the resources available to entrepreneurs along the 78 Corridor with the goal of helping startups scale to become long-term, viable businesses that support our economy.

All five Innovate78 cities (Carlsbad, Escondido, Oceanside, San Marcos, and Vista) are home to a number of coworking spaces that each boast unique offerings and amenities. Many people come to work in these spaces for the networking opportunities and oftentimes, find their other co-founder while working on separate projects. Professionals have many different spaces to choose from along the corridor, allowing them to work close to home and contribute to the local economy.

Read the full blog post on Innovate78.com to learn about each of the five cities' co-working offerings.

 

 

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January 22, 2019

Small businesses are the backbone of the San Diego economy, representing 98 percent of local businesses and employing roughly 59 percent of the workforce. According to a new study by San Diego Regional EDC, in partnership with the San Diego & Imperial Small Business Development Center, small businesses are one of the primary drivers of local economic growth, with 41 percent of the region’s small businesses intending to hire more employees in the next two years.

Based on a survey of more than 500 respondents, “An In-Depth Look at San Diego's Small Business Ecosystem” uncovers insight about the region’s small businesses – those with fewer than 100 employees – and quantifies the number of firms, workforce, demographic and industry breakdown, business outlook and more across San Diego and Imperial counties.

The study found 36 percent of small businesses are women-owned, 20 percent are minority-owned, and 10 percent are veteran-owned.

 “This study helps reinforce what we already know: San Diego’s small businesses are the cornerstone of our economy, employing nearly 700,000 San Diegans and driving innovation across the world,” said Kirby Brady, Research Director, San Diego Regional EDC.

Encompassing industries from healthcare, finance, food and beverage, education, construction and real estate, San Diego’s small businesses are driving the local economy – representing two-thirds of current regional employment.

KEY FINDINGS

  • Small businesses employ 697,000 workers, making up 59 percent of San Diego’s total workforce. 
  • 27 percent of the region’s workers are in businesses with fewer than 20 employees; while more than 64 percent of firms employ fewer than five people.
  • 69 percent of small businesses reported financial growth in the past two years.
  • 59 percent of the region’s small businesses have local customers.
  • Of firms surveyed, roughly 43 percent expect to grow in terms of workforce and 81 percent expect to grow in terms of financial performance.
  • The majority of companies who have been operating less than two years generate less than $100K in annual revenue, while more than half of established companies (10 years or longer) generate more than $1M in revenue annually.
  • Small business growth challenges:
    • Eighty-five percent of locally-serving small business said ‘sales and new business’ is a challenge, including 25 percent who said it is the most significant challenge.
    • Fourteen percent of small businesses said that ‘financial stability and cash flow’ is the most significant challenge.

“In order to better serve the needs of our small businesses and entrepreneurs, it’s important that we understand their perceptions and experiences," said Danny Fitzgerald, Associate Regional Director of San Diego & Imperial SBDC Network. “This study will enable us to create new and enhance existing programming to support small business growth across the region.”

Furthermore, with a commitment to lifting up San Diego small businesses, EDC has launched an Inclusive Growth initiative in order to develop measurable targets and actionable recommendations to promote small business growth, talent development and affordability.

The SBDC has become our trusted 'go to' resource for just about everything. They have connected us to the vast networks in San Diego that has brought us new customers and important industry connections. We wouldn't be where we are today without them,” said Nic Halverson, Founder/CEO of Waitz App.

The report was produced by San Diego Regional EDC, with support from the San Diego & Imperial Small Business Development Center. Read the full study here.

For more research from San Diego Regional EDC, visit sandiegobusiness.org/research-center.

 

January 18, 2019

Each month the California Employment Development Department (EDD) releases employment data for the prior month. This edition of San Diego's Economic Pulse covers December 2018. Check out EDC's research bureau for more data and stats about San Diego's economy. 

Highlights include:

  • The region’s unemployment rate was 3.2 percent in December, unchanged from a revised 3.2 percent in November, and below the year-ago estimate of 3.3 percent.
  • San Diego’s unemployment rate remains below both the state rate of 4.1 percent and the national rate of 3.7 percent.
  • The labor force shrunk by 3,000 workers during the month and is now up 37,100 compared to a year ago.
  • Total nonfarm employment is down 900 in December and up 28,400 over the year.
  • The largest employment gain over the year occurred in professional and business services, which added 12,600 jobs. Professional, scientific, and technical services were responsible for 46 percent of the increase – up 5,800 jobs.

 

San Diego's Economic Pulse - January 2019 from San Diego Regional EDC on Vimeo.