The Year in Job Losses

Submitted by Rich Toscano on March 16, 2010 - 7:06pm
Now that the revised job data for December is in, let's have a look at how San Diego's employment sectors fared during the year 2009.

This first graph displays the number of jobs lost (and, in a couple of cases, gained) in San Diego's major job industries as delineated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

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Submitted by 4plexowner on March 17, 2010 - 6:23am.

nice graphs, Rich

as I was looking at them I was wondering about the dollar value of each of the lost jobs - I'm assuming that Professional Services includes engineers, architects, lawyers, etc who usually make more money than someone working in Construction or Leisure/Hospitality

it might be interesting to assign an average wage to each of the lost/gained jobs and re-do the charts

one of my concerns about San Diego's economic future is that high-wage jobs will continue leaving the area and we will become just a drive-in tourist destination and a nice place to retire if you can afford it

Submitted by djk1998 on March 17, 2010 - 11:19am.

Rich - Does government include DoD jobs? It seems the Navy and USMC presence has continued to increase in SD County recently.

Submitted by Rich Toscano on March 17, 2010 - 2:30pm.

I believe this is civilian only... there is some DOD listed but I assume that's civilians. Anyway it's mostly state and local. I've attached an image with the breakdown.


government employment in san diego - 12/09government employment in san diego - 12/09

Submitted by 4plexowner on March 17, 2010 - 6:03pm.

very quick and very dirty stab at the idea I was wondering about this morning

this is my raw data - I took a SWAG (scientific wild-assed guess) at average salaries for each sector - for hourly estimates I assume 2000 hours in the working year (ie, retail wage is $8/hour * 2000 hours = $16,000/year) - I have no idea what kinds of jobs fall under 'transportation/utilities' (for example) so $30,000 is not even a SWAG, it is just a WAG

Average income by sectorAverage income by sector

bar chart shows the size of the dollar loss per sector

$ value of jobs lost by sector$ value of jobs lost by sector

then I took the total number of jobs in San Diego as 1,223,200 and multiplied that by the size of each job sector and the avg income per sector to get the dollar value of each sector

total $ value of jobs in each sectortotal $ value of jobs in each sector

here's the pie chart

$ value of each sector$ value of each sector

some observations:
- San Diego's job market consists of 4 main categories: professional services, government, health care, finance/RE
- counting the number of jobs lost/gained is only one piece of the picture - 14,000 jobs in the professional category are far more significant than the same number of jobs in retail (yes, this is obvious to the most casual observer)

I'd be glad to update this if someone wants to provide more accurate estimates for average incomes by sector - and if I am making a gross error in my thinking please say so

Submitted by Rich Toscano on March 17, 2010 - 7:02pm.

Interesting analysis, thanks.

There is sector-specific wage info from the BLS here (if you click into the individual sectors):

It's nationwide but should give a good idea of relative wages.


Submitted by CA renter on March 17, 2010 - 7:56pm.

Very good point, 4plexowner. Thanks for providing your calculations.

Submitted by 4plexowner on March 18, 2010 - 5:17am.

thanks for the info source, Rich

I used 'Earnings and Hours for All Employees' and multiplied the hourly earnings by 2000

I couldn't find a category for 'government' so I used 'Administration and Support Services'

Professional Services as a sector shows $54K as average income - if you look at Professional, Scientific and Technical Services income jumps up to $68K - I suspect that in San Diego our Professional Services category leans toward the Scientific and Technical sub-category - I used the $54K number

the charts now have a consistent set of data for income

not all of the job sectors work the same number of hours per week so using 2000 hours as a multiplier for all of them isn't as accurate as it could be - for example, Professional Services works 35.2 hours per week while Admin and Support only works 33 hours per week on average

main job categories in San Diego are:
Professional Services 23%
Government 16%
Health Care 12%
Finance / RE 8%
Construction 8%

I think this data supports what us engineers have always maintained (somewhat jokingly) - that is, without us engineers you bean-counters wouldn't have jobs - when General Dynamics was leaving town people were saying that every engineering job lost took two lessor jobs with it

Average income by sectorAverage income by sector

$ value of jobs lost by sector$ value of jobs lost by sector

$ value of each sector$ value of each sector

Submitted by Rich Toscano on March 18, 2010 - 8:58am.

Very cool... thanks for putting that together 4plex.


Submitted by 4plexowner on March 18, 2010 - 10:17am.

This is a new idea for me so I haven't fully worked through the details - bear with me

I'm wondering what, if any, fundamentally driven (ie, based on newly created long-term jobs) economic activity has occurred in San Diego since 1995 when General Dynamics left town

We were fortunate that Southern CA's typical real estate cycle entered its upward leg at about the same time that GD was saying Goodbye

The real estate cycle provided lots of jobs for granite countertop installers, drywallers, escrow clerks, real estate agents and their assistants, etc - numerous people made money flipping properties - a few real estate developers cleaned up by building downtown condos, Petco park, Eastlake and all the developments in North County

But what fundamental economic activity is underlying all the real estate development that has occurred since 1995?

My concern in the current economic downturn is that not only do we have to deal with the aftermath of the biggest real estate bubble this planet has ever seen, but that we have yet to address or recover from the loss of the City's largest employer - an employer that provided jobs that were predominately at the top of the job-food-chain (engineers)

Any thoughts?

Submitted by Rich Toscano on March 18, 2010 - 2:19pm.

Wireless and biotech spring to mind... unfortunately I've never figured out how to determine employment in those sectors based on the BLS' old timey sector definitions.


Submitted by 4plexowner on March 19, 2010 - 6:28am.

yes, Qualcomm was a hot commodity for awhile - I forget whether CDMA was their technology or if they were pushing the rival technology - I don't even know which of the two technologies has been adapted and become widespread - I haven't noticed much about Qualcomm in the last few years - have they hired 15,000 engineers and technicians since 1995?

poking around the job-search websites, the only local company I see hiring engineers (or at least advertising for them) is Northrop Grumman and they are looking for people with security clearances and very specific skills

biotech is touted as San Diego's hot industry from time-to-time - and then some of the biotech people on this board tell us what is really going on - most recent idea I have seen related to biotech is that these companies are primarily funded by venture capital - in the current economic climate, counting on venture capital might not be the wisest strategy

haven't we had two hospitals close in the last few years? or was it only one? would hospitals be closing in a city with a robust, growing economy?

my concern is that we have had 15 years of real estate related financial machinations that have hidden the true state of San Diego's economy - and that the real state of our economy is nowhere near as healthy as it might appear if you were only looking at 'growth' based on the number of new housing units built

Submitted by sdrealtor on March 19, 2010 - 10:52am.

Hospitals closing has more to do with a shift toward outpatient care than the economy.

Submitted by 4plexowner on March 19, 2010 - 12:54pm.

"Hospitals closing has more to do with a shift toward outpatient care than the economy."

that seems reasonable - did all the people who lost jobs at the closed hospital(s) find work in outpatient clinics? or was there a net loss of jobs?

Submitted by djk1998 on March 19, 2010 - 10:47pm.

Interesting. I wonder what the actual active duty number is for the county? I couldn't find it easily online. My best guess is that it easily equals the 20,000 civilian DoD employees. (Add up Coronado, 32nd St, MCRD, Miramar, Pendleton, etc). I always wondered if the number was large enough to skew San Diego's economy when compared to a similar city without a large military presence.

Submitted by sdrealtor on March 19, 2010 - 11:34pm.

4plexowner wrote:
"Hospitals closing has more to do with a shift toward outpatient care than the economy."

that seems reasonable - did all the people who lost jobs at the closed hospital(s) find work in outpatient clinics? or was there a net loss of jobs?

Who knows but that is not the point you made. Your point was hospitals would not close in a robust economy. That is not why hospitals are closing.

FWIW, I was just out with a couple friends Monday night. One works for QCOM and the other in Biotech. Both are in the middle of major backyard improvements with pools, outdoor kitchens, fireplaces. Dont want to call that a trend but it doesnt seem as though either is dead.

Submitted by 4plexowner on March 20, 2010 - 7:52am.

"hospitals would not close in a robust economy"

that is my point

in a robust economy I believe that one of the national hospital chains would have come in and bought out the hospitals that closed regardless of the trend from inpatient to outpatient treatment

given that none of the national chains saw profit potential in San Diego, we can then move on to the effect caused by the hospitals closing - ie, did we have a net gain / loss of jobs

perhaps I am mixing indicators a little bit - the underlying theme that I am trying to understand is the health of San Diego's economy - there are numerous ways of looking at that theme - total # of jobs, major employers coming to town / leaving town / etc


so two people with jobs are doing home improvements - what does that tell us? - absolutely nothing - what might be interesting is these people's assessment of the current state of QCOM and the biotech industry

Submitted by 4plexowner on March 20, 2010 - 8:12am.

the military presence in San Diego is an interesting factor to consider

we have gained an aircraft carrier since 1995 but one was also retired - if I remember correctly, we picked up some submarines and the hospital ship, Mercy - the Navy gave up Miramar and the Marines moved in

how do we track the net gain / loss of these changes?

there has been new military housing brought online at NTC and in Pacific Beach (and elsewhere?) - this might be an indication of a growing military presence but I suspect it is more a matter of playing catch-up with a long-term shortage of military housing

Submitted by sdrealtor on March 21, 2010 - 8:28pm.

Sorry but you dont understand the health care market. I used to run marketing and strategic planning for a cutting edge Hospital/Health Care system back in PA so you are in my wheel house right now. SD has never been a draw for national chains because of very high managed care pentration and low reimbursement rates. It has been that way for a couple decades. Second it is not easy for a for profit chain to come and buy a non-profit hospital (i.e. community outrage). Once agin hospitals closing has more to do with a changing health care delivery paradigm than the economy.

Regarding the two guys putting in pools, I dont know what it tells us other than they arent overly concerned with job security.

Submitted by FormerSanDiegan on March 24, 2010 - 2:40pm.

Around the mid 1990's SPAWAR headquarters moved to San Diego and generated an influx of both Government and defense contractor jobs. Also, companies like General Atomics started making what used to be called "drones", now known as UAVs.
In 1994 there were no predators or reapers. Today there are at least a couple hundred of these things, along with their associated ground equipment. GA is headquartered in San Diego.

Submitted by 4plexowner on March 25, 2010 - 8:02am.

yes, SPAWAR took over the General Dynamics building right next to I-5

some of the engineers and technicians that lost jobs at GD found new jobs at the spinoffs from GD like GDE Systems in Rancho Bernardo - some of them went to SPAWAR, General Atomics, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman (lots of UAV work here as well), etc

some of the GD employees transferred to new locations when GD sold their divisions - Missile Systems went to Arizona I think - Space Systems went to Denver

in order to get a handle on the net gain/loss of jobs in San Diego we need to find employment data showing the Professional Services category going back to 1990 or so

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