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Tech Innovation Economy Continues to Lead San Diego's Job Recovery

Kelly Cunningham, NATIONAL UNIVERSITY SYSTEM INSTITUTE FOR POLICY RESEARCH

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

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     In a comparison of the eleven U.S. metro areas with the most physical, engineering and biological research jobs, San Diego showed the highest relative concentration for this specific technology sector. Furthermore, among seven additional technology industries, San Diego tied Boston and San Francisco for most categories with concentrations above national averages.
     Kelly Cunningham, Senior Economist and Fellow at NUSIPR noted, “This is the first time the oft-discussed diversity of San Diego’s tech-economy has been quantified and objectively compared. It is really quite remarkable how many technology sectors in San Diego exceed national concentrations. Many metros have three or four. San Diego has seven and an eighth, transportation manufacturing, is just under the national average and growing strong.”
     Technology sectors continue to lead the rebound in San Diego employment. Tech-based sectors have seen significant increases in employment and wage growth. This has been evident in both direct impacts on job growth and indirect effects from spending by technology workers.
     Over the course of the recession, technology employment did not decline nearly as much as the rest of the regional economy. The sector has also rebounded more strongly. By the end of 2013, technology jobs already exceed the previous high mark and continue to grow. Meanwhile, overall private employment had not quite yet returned to the pre-recession peak.
     San Diego’s technology oriented businesses employed an average of 142,100 workers during 2013. Payrolls totaled an estimated $15.6 billion during the year, generating $41.4 billion in sales, and directly adding $21.5 billion to the San Diego economy. Technology industries directly contributed 12 percent of San Diego’s gross domestic product (GDP), and, in total, accounted for 22.9 percent of all economic activity.
Multipliers measuring indirect and induced effects indicate a total 353,400 jobs in San Diego are traced or dependent upon local technology industries. This accounted for 27 percent or more than a quarter of all payroll jobs in the County.
     San Diego’s diversity of technology places the region in a unique position of strength for cross-industry collaborations and merging technologies. For example, the integration of telecommunications with bio-med diagnostic equipment and computer and electronic monitoring systems has immense possibilities and advantages for each of these technology clusters concentrated in San Diego.