San Diego unemployment unchanged in August

Job growth in San Diego County continued to slow in August compared to big gains last year, show state labor statistics released Friday.

San Diego County’s August jobless rate, 4.7 percent, was lower than the statewide unadjusted unemployment rate of 5.4 percent but higher than the nationwide rate of 4.5 percent, said the state Employment Development Department.

The region has added 19,400 jobs year over year — considerably fewer than the start of last year when 12-month gains were around 40,000 jobs.

The 12-month job gain had not been so low since March 2012 when 16,100 jobs were added. However, it is still better than September 2009, when year-over-year changes showed a loss of 83,100 jobs.

San Diego’s unemployment rate has increased each month since it hit 3.8 percent, its lowest rate in 11 years, in May, but there are bright spots in August’s data.

The construction sector led growth for the month, adding 1,200 jobs, which could be a reflection of residential building, which has seen an uptick in the last few months after a slow start to the year.

In addition to construction, there was growth in the trade, transportation and utilities sector, adding 1,100 jobs, and professional and business services, which also added 1,100 jobs.

Leisure and hospitality positions were curtailed the most of any sector, losing 1,000 jobs, which is common this time of year as tourism slows down.

When adjusted for seasonal swings, the August unemployment rate was 4.4 percent, up from 4.2 percent in July, , said Lynn Reaser, chief economist for the Fermanian Business & Economic Institute at Point Loma Nazarene University.

Phil Blair, president of Manpower San Diego, said he was pleased to see jobs in high-paying categories increase. In particular, he said construction jobs are good because they lead to spending in appliances, carpeting, furniture and more goods that go into a home. “It’s a multiplier,” he said.

Alan Gin, economist at University of San Diego said he was concerned that year-over-year job growth in manufacturing was down— a loss of 1,000 jobs — as well as professional, scientific and technical services (1,500 jobs).

“Professional, scientific and technical services is a key sector in terms of San Diego’s economy,” he said. “If it’s having trouble, that’s not a good situation.”

The biggest job growth in the last 12 months has been in educational and health services, adding 5,200 jobs. It was followed by other services (5,000 jobs), which includes laundry services, machinery repair and death care services. Government added 4,900 jobs, which includes federal, state and local positions.

California lost 8,200 jobs in August but still had a year-over-year gain of 265,100 jobs, an increase of 1.6 percent. (619) 293-1891 Twitter: @phillipmolnar


The vanishing San Diego single-family home

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