San Diego’s unemployment lowers, economic outlook rises

Last week, the Employment Development Department reported that San Diego County’s unemployment rate fell to 8 percent, the lowest rate since December 2008, when it was at 7.4 percent. Data show that county businesses added a total of 31,400 employees in the past 12 months. California is seeing a decreased unemployment rate along with the majority of the nation—including 37 other states, Puerto Rico and D.C.  In the past year, California employers added 293,000 payroll jobs and had a job growth rate of 2.1 percent, higher than the nation’s 1.5 percent job growth rate.about-san-diego-(1).jpg
California’s unemployment fluctuates greatly from county to county. Imperial County has the highest unemployment rate at 24.2 percent, while Orange County enjoys a much lower rate of 6.5 percent, mostly due to highly visited attractions such as Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm.

Some factors that may contribute to San Diego’s decreased unemployment rate are:

Diverse Industries: San Diego’s diverse and growing industries, including biotech, engineering, and healthcare, are driving new job creation. San Diego is also a region of continuous research, with universities and independent research institutes that hire regularly.

Real Estate: San Diego’s real estate market was hit especially hard during the recession. This year, economists expect a turnaround in San Diego’s housing market with home prices and home sales to increase by 5.5 and 7.5 percent, respectively. Data from the State of California Employee Development Database also show a decrease in monthly foreclosures in 2012.

Tourism: The tourism industry was greatly affected during the recession, but increased jobs and revenues from 2012 show that the industry is making a big comeback. In 2013, a record number of business and leisure travelers are expected to come to San Diego County. This is mainly due to the increase in discretionary income combined with San Diego’s many popular attractions—SeaWorld, LEGOLAND, and famous beaches, to name a few.

Other hopeful signs include an increase in online help-wanted advertising, local stocks performing well, and an optimistic outlook of the nation’s economic health. Factors that could potentially hinder San Diego’s economic growth include: healthcare reform, rising oil prices, and increased taxes.

Between 2012 and 2013 San Diego County added 31,400 jobs, almost all jobs sectors showed gains, the biggest winners included:
Job Sectors
Job Gains
Professional and Business Services
Leisure and Hospitality
Education and Health Services

In February alone, San Diego County gained 9,800 jobs. The largest contributor in the county was the leisure and hospitality sector, up 3,300 jobs, with 2,100 of those coming from the restaurant and bar industry. This is a good indicator of a recovering economy since increased restaurant sales usually mean an overall increase in discretionary income.

With more jobs being added each day, now is the time to explore courses and programs at UC San Diego Extension and to visit the Career Resources section to see what the future holds for your career.

Figures do not include people no longer looking for work, underemployed workers, or the many who have already used their unemployment benefits.


Horn, J. (2013, March 29). UT San Diego. SD Unemployment Drops to 8 Percent
Horn, J. (2013, March 22). UT San Diego. San Diego Shows Robust Job Growth
San Diego Business Journal. (2013, April 1). San Diego County’s Unemployment Rate Falls to 8 Percent in February
San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce. (2012, June). San Diego’s Road to Economic Recovery (PDF)
National Conference of State Legislatures. (2013, March 29). State Unemployment Rates Improved in February 2013

Posted: 4/16/2013 12:00:00 AM by UC San Diego Extension: Business | with 0 comments
Filed under: Career-development, Careers, San-diego, San-diego-jobs, San-diego-unemployment, Uc-san-diego-extension, Ucsd-extension

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