San Diego: sun, surf, economic stability

150 150 Cheryl Getuiza

The hard work of SDREDC has turned the city around. (Photo Credit: Cindy Devin)

San Diego is synonymous with sun, sand and surf. Many would say it’s a bit of paradise.

But have you ever heard of the saying, “your good looks can only take you so far?” Well, the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation (SDREDC) has worked hard, the past year, so San Diego wouldn’t fall into that category. For the past year, the organization has put in a huge amount of time to ensure the economic stability and success for the region.

President and CEO of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation Mark Cafferty said all of that hard work has paid off:

“As California—and San Diego—continued to receive criticism from out of state politicians, the press, and more for its “anti-business” policies, we must remember one underlying theme: time and time again, studies have shown that short term economic incentives do nothing for long term job growth. California is leading the nation in private sector job creation. California created 257,000 new private sector jobs in the last year and San Diego was ranked the fourth city for job growth last year.”

The SDREDC just released some recent statistics.

·         8,550 estimated jobs created last year

·         175 total projects

·         In the last 4 weeks, the organization worked with 24 companies to support their expansion, retention and relocation interests in the region.

“From Russia’s largest publicly traded financial conglomerate looking to invest in local hospitals; to India’s largest pharmaceutical company looking to establish U.S. headquarters; to Canada’s most high-profile technology entertainment companies looking to reinforce their local investment, San Digo continues to attract the interests of the world’s most renowned innovators, investors and companies,” said Cafferty.

San Diego’s unemployment rate was 8.1 percent in December 2012. The region is fortunate enough to have not one, not two, but three traded economies-military, tourism and innovation-as “anchors, not incentives, to help booster the region.”

Despite some of the great gains the city is making, Cafferty has some major concerns. “It’s not Governor Perry’s $24,000 in media buy that worries us, but some actual reforms and legislations, or lack thereof, that do.”

In his recent State of the State speech, Gov. Jerry Brown perked some ears and caused some concern when he mentioned he thought the state’s Enterprise Zone business incentive program wasn’t working. But Cafferty argues they’ve made a noticeable difference in luring businesses to locate in San Diego.

“We view it as a tipping point, or retention tool, which has helped companies including Soitec and the Wheat Group.”

Another program caused a ruckus in San Diego when a Tourism Marketing District was put forth for the region. The District will raise funds to promote the area as a tourism destination.

“Tourism is big business in San Diego,” says the SDREDC report. “It’s responsible for $18.3 billion in economic impact and employs 160,000 San Diegans. Dollars from TMD is extremely important. “

“In 1993, Colorado eliminated its TMD, resulting in a 30 percent drop in U.S. travel market over four years,” added Cafferty.

Finally, Cafferty said sequestration or military cuts would be a huge blow to the regional economy.

“With the highest concentration of military in the world and 60 percent of California’s military assets , sequestration would be a devastating blow to the area’s economy, with approximately 30,000 jobs at stake. Many people also don’t realize the impact it would have on the innovation and life sciences industries.”

Like many California regions, San Diego is doing its best to attract jobs, retain and expand business. Thriving regions will lead to a thriving state.

“What ties this all together, from policy positions to programmatic elements, is job creation. That is always our primary goal and objective-and everything we do is linked to this.”


Cheryl Getuiza

All stories by: Cheryl Getuiza