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Research Blog

January 7, 2019
This op-ed was originally published in the San Diego Union-Tribune, authored by Nikia Clarke, Cynthia Curiel, and Patricia Prado-Olmos.
 
As high school seniors throughout the country complete final exams and eagerly await college acceptance letters, only 37 percent of Hispanic and black students in San Diego will be college-ready when they finish high school. This lack of preparedness significantly affects San Diego’s competitiveness since these groups already represent a large (and growing) part of our population. And while talent attraction efforts are an important facet of economic growth, the nationwide competition for skilled talent combined with San Diego’s high cost of living make relocating talent from elsewhere increasingly difficult. Now more than ever, San Diego employers must focus on building a strong local talent pipeline, or we — as a region — simply won’t survive.
 
The success of San Diego’s innovation economy is inextricably linked to the region’s talent pool. In fact, projections indicate that San Diego will need to double its annual production of high-skilled college graduates by the year 2030 in order to meet the demands of the future economy, ultimately developing interventions that impact today’s seventh-graders. Though this can only happen through extensive systemic changes, we can rest assured knowing that we don’t have to look far to access a viable workforce. San Diego doesn’t have a talent supply problem; it has a talent development problem.
 
San Diego is home to a large pool of untapped talent that is vastly underrepresented in the innovation economy. Hispanics represent San Diego’s fastest growing population and will become the region’s largest demographic group by 2030; yet 85 percent of Hispanics in the region do not hold a bachelor’s degree. This presents an opportunity for employers to develop this local talent and create sustainable inflows of new employees directly from their surrounding communities.
 
To address these regional challenges, the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp. (EDC) launched an Inclusive Growth initiative this year, and convened an employer-led steering committee to help develop and drive an agenda that maximizes economic growth through inclusion. Informing this work, EDC recently released an interactive web study — talent.inclusivesd.org — indicating that talent shortages pose a significant threat to San Diego’s economic sustainability.
 
The 40-company steering committee is encouraging other employers to focus efforts on talent development programs that directly equip the local workforce with the skills they seek in employees. The committee has endorsed “20,000 skilled workers by 2030” as a regional goal, along with a set of employer-focused recommendations around transparency, engagement and investment. These recommendations serve to build a platform in which people can track the region’s progress, as well as provide employers with programs they can adopt and implement at their own organizations.
 
As a key leader in EDC’s Inclusive Growth Steering Committee, defense technology company Northrop Grumman plans to pilot a talent pipeline program in 2019 that will link STEM education opportunities from K-12 through college. The company is creating a new pathway for high school students to obtain STEM-focused degrees through close collaboration with local community colleges and practical on-the-job experience. By helping reduce the barriers many face when considering college, Northrop seeks to empower students and their families to pursue both educational and career opportunities, while creating a sustainable source of high-skilled talent.
 
Cal State San Marcos, another steering committee leader, has collaborated with Northrop Grumman to ensure that local education systems and curriculum are equipping students with the skills required to fill these higher-paying jobs. Cal State San Marcos works closely with a range of industries to design academic programs connected to workforce needs, such as a master’s of science in cybersecurity and the university’s newly launched engineering program.
 
Inclusive growth is not just about “doing the right thing” — it’s about economics, and making sure our community is set up for success. In 2019, EDC will continue to work with its steering committee to develop employer-focused recommendations around two other inclusive growth goals: equipping small businesses to compete and addressing the affordability crisis.
 
This process is complex and will take time; San Diego’s continued growth and success will largely depend on collaboration among companies, universities, philanthropic organizations and local government to ensure that inclusive growth practices are integrated into future decision-making. As a region, and especially as an economic development organization, if we are not doing this right, we should not be doing anything at all. Our hope is that when we tell San Diego’s story in the not-too-distant future, we can tell the story of a region that not only excels in technology and innovation, but also one that includes and uplifts all of its residents — a place where everyone can thrive, no matter your ZIP code.
 
Clarke is vice president of economic development at San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp. Curiel is vice president of communications at Northrop Grumman Corp., Aerospace Systems. Prado-Olmos is vice president of community engagement at Cal State San Marcos.
 
Follow along and learn more at InclusiveSD.org.
December 19, 2018

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 Q3 2018.

Following an increase in employment in Q2, San Diego and 12 of the most populous metros, experienced a decline in total nonfarm employment in Q3. Winding down from the summer season, the region shed 4,700 jobs - a 0.3 percent decrease in employment during the quarter. Compared to a year ago, nonfarm employment was up 28,800 jobs, or 2 percent.

Meanwhile, San Diego’s unemployment rate was 3.2 percent in Q3, down from 3.7 percent in Q2.

Key findings from the snapshot:

  • San Diego closed Q3 with an unemployment rate of 3.2 percent and the tenth lowest among the 25 most populous metros.
  • With the summer tourist season coming to an end, the leisure and hospitality sector recorded the largest quarterly loss, shedding 2,300 jobs in Q3. Other contributors to quarterly employment loss were trade, transportation, and utilities, together losing 2,100 jobs. 
  • Year-over-year, the region’s median home price continued to climb, growing by 7.1 percent.
  • VC dollars in the region increased 63.5 percent compared to a year ago.

The 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 July to September (Q3) 2018.

November 29, 2018

San Diego is home to more than 350 precision health companies that hold 3,610 patents, according to a study released by yours truly: San Diego Regional EDC.  “San Diego's Precision Health Ecosystem” explores the impact of the region’s precision health cluster and quantifies the number of firms, venture capital and patents, as well the broader cluster across California.

The web-based study – precisionhealthSD.org – includes a historic timeline, cluster map, local and state overviews, and a series of video testimonials from local business leaders.

Large local companies like Illumina and Thermo Fisher Scientific, startups and small businesses like CureMatch, LunaDNA, and EpicentRX, as well as hospitals and research institutes are helping lead the charge in precision health and enabling people to live longer, healthier lives.

Using a person’s unique genes, medical history, and environment, the field of precision health seeks to customize effective therapies and disease treatment. More than genomics and pharmaceuticals, precision health also encompasses a wide range of related fields that allow for the collection, storage, analysis, and use of health data for more precise diagnosis of individual conditions and risk factors.

“From personalized cancer vaccines to record-breaking DNA sequencing of newborns, San Diego companies and research institutes are revolutionizing healthcare as we know it,” said Kirby Brady, research director, San Diego Regional EDC. “Consistently ranked among the top five cities for startups and life sciences, as well as the #1 region for genomics patents in the U.S., San Diego brings more to the table than its beaches – we are changing lives and curing disease from the offices and labs throughout the region.”

KEY FINDINGS

  • San Diego precision health companies secured $1.3 billion in venture capital in 2018, to date.
  • San Diego precision health companies hold 825 registered trademarks, and 3,610 patents.
  • San Diego is home to more than 350 precision health companies, 80 research institutions, 30 hospitals, and five universities.
  • Economic impact of precision health in California (2017):
    • 29,000 direct jobs
    • 99,000 total impacted jobs
    • $17 billion direct economic impact

Precision Health: Why San Diego from San Diego Regional EDC on Vimeo.

The report was produced by San Diego Regional EDC, and sponsored by Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc., CBRE, Kaiser Permanente, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Scripps Research.

Read the full study at precisionhealthSD.org, or the print version hereFor more research from San Diego Regional EDC, visit sandiegobusiness.org/research-center.

November 16, 2018

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

October highlights:

  • The region’s unemployment rate was 3.3 percent in October, up from a revised 3.2 percent in September, and below the year-ago estimate of 3.6 percent.
  • San Diego’s unemployment rate remains below both the state rate of 4.0 percent and the national rate of 3.5 percent.
  • The labor force grew by 9,100 workers during the month and is now up 25,300 compared to a year ago.
  • Total nonfarm employment is up 10,700 in October and up 26,000 over the year.
  • The largest employment gain over the year occurred in professional and business services, which added 16,400 jobs. Professional, scientific, and technical services were responsible for 60 percent of the increase – up 9,700 jobs.