Employment Metrics

Improved more than 1 percent from
2015 to 2016

How are we doing?

Employment received a thumbs-up because the San Diego County unemployment rate continued to fall from 4.9% in quarter four of 2015 to 4.4% in quarter four of 2016. Local unemployment remained lower than the California average by over half a percentage point. From 2015 to 2016, Real Estate and Construction were the region’s highest job growth sectors. Professional and Business Services remained the total job leader with nearly 240,000 employees. See more information.

San Diego County’s unemployment rate continued to fall in 2016 and remained lower than both the California and national average throughout the year.

Data Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Local Area Unemployment Statistics, 2017; Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey, 2017

Why is it important?

  • San Diego’s economy, jobs, wage growth and ability to attract talented individuals and businesses are all part of the region’s quality of life balance.
  • According to the American Community Survey, millennials 20 to 34 years old accounted for 35% of California's workforce in 2015 but had a high unemployment rate of 8.9%.
  • In California, individuals 16 to 24 years old had a 15.8% unemployment rate in 2015. Businesses can foster opportunities for internships and mentorships for young professionals, which can add to the region’s economic success.

Growth in Employment by Sector

(not seasonally adjusted, San Diego County, 2015-2016)

Supersector and Industry
Total Jobs in
December 2016
from 2015
Total (Private and Government) 1,444.6 1.85%
Total Private 1,195.7 1.63%
Professional and Business Services 234.5 -0.30%
Prof., Scientific & Tech. Services 129.9 0.93%
Mgmt. of Companies & Enterprises 21.6 -1.37%
Administrative 83.0 -1.89%
Trade, Transportations, and Utilites 230.7 0.70%
Wholesale Trade 45.5 1.56%
Retail Trade 155.1 0.45%
Transportation and Utilites 30.1 0.67%
Leisure and Hospitality 189.4 2.92%
Education and Health Services 202 2.33%
Education Services 30.6 1.66%
Health Care and Social Assistance 171.4 2.45%
Manufacturing 107.4 -0.09%
Financial Services 75.1 4.02%
Finance and Insurance 45.9 3.15%
Real Estate and Rental and Leasing 29.2 5.42%
Construction 76.7 4.50%
Other Services* 55.9 4.49%
Information 23.7 0.00%
Mining and Logging 0.3 0.00%
Total Government 248.9 2.94%
Federal Government 46.6 -0.43%
State Government 49.1 4.25%
Local Government 153.2 3.58%

Real Estate and Rental and Leasing had the highest job growth for a subsector with a 5.4% increase. Job growth in the Construction sector remained high this year and Other Services had a large increase in jobs as well.

Data Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2017

*Other Services: Establishments in this sector are primarily engaged in activities, such as equipment and machinery repairing, promoting or administering religious activities, grantmaking, advocacy, and providing dry cleaning and laundry services, personal care services, death care services, pet care services, photofinishing services, temporary parking services, and dating services.


  Idea for Change

Attracting and keeping a talented workforce is not only based on the kind of jobs and level of wages available but also on the overall quality of life in the region. Residents who live where they work have overall greater quality of life, health and job satisfaction due to less vehicle miles traveled, more active lifestyles and more time to spend with family and friends. To increase and retain a talented workforce, policymakers and businesses should promote the “City of Villages” concept that includes mixed-use communities where residential, commercial, employment, parks and civic use developments are integrated and pedestrian-friendly. 

  Bright Spot

The Center for Sustainable Energy and Cleantech San Diego collaborated to create the City of San Diego Annual Report to show the overall regional job market growth from climate action plan strategies. Clean technology jobs grew at a rate of 10.2% from 2010 to 2015, faster than the overall regional job market growth rate of 9.5%. The report also highlighted that there are over 800 clean technology companies in the region and that clean energy is recognized as one of the top five sectors for future job growth in San Diego. Learn more.

  What are we measuring?

We track the quarterly trend in unemployment rate in major urban counties, California, and the U.S. as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. We also track year-over-year change in employment in major industries and supersectors. Learn more about the data.