The worst appears to be over for the recession in San Diego County, but it could take a few years for the economy to return to pre-recession levels, according to a study released Tuesday by the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce.
The report (see media box) comes in the wake of last week’s announcement that San Diego had an 8.8 percent unemployment rate in May, with about 62,100 people out of work.
Ruben Barrales, the chamber’s president and chief executive, said: “This report represents yet another positive indication that San Diego is recovering at a faster rate than other cities in California and across the nation.
“While the recovery remains slow, San Diego is well positioned for long-term success and viability.”
Among the findings:
- Through March, the region’s unemployment rate for 15 straight months was lower than the comparable time period one year earlier.
- In the first quarter of this year, the average monthly rate of foreclosures was 28 percent less than the same period in 2011.
- The median price of a home in the region increased in February for the first time in over one year.
- Hotel occupancy rates continue to climb and are now above pre-recession levels.
- And the total number of tourists coming to San Diego climbed for 13 straight months through March.
Data and analysis for the report was provided by Export Access Global Consulting, a graduate student-run global market research and consulting group at UC San Diego.
The chamber report said the economy was moving in the right direction across a variety of indicators. However, the report also cautions that while the region’s ties to the world economy provide opportunities for growth, they also expose the area to economic troubles faced by the state, the nation, Europe and China.
Last week, the state announced that the unemployment rate in San Diego County in May was 8.8 percent, the same as the revised figure in the prior month, but lower than the 9.8 percent in May 2011.
The Employment Development Department originally reported the April unemployment rate to be 8.7 percent, the lowest in three years, but it was revised upward by 0.1 percent.
Unemployment rates in May for other Patch communities:
- Carlsbad: 5.8 percent and 2,800 out of work.
- Casa de Oro-Mount Helix: 8.3 percent and 900.
- Coronado: 5.6 percent and 500.
- Encinitas: 6.2 percent and 2,400
- Imperial Beach: 14.1 percent and 2,000.
- La Mesa: 7.3 percent and 2,500.
- Lemon Grove: 11.0 percent and 1,500.
- Oceanside: 8.4 percent and 7,300.
- Poway: 5.2 percent and 1,500.
- Ramona: 8.1 percent and 700.
- Santee: 7.4 percent and 2,400.
- Spring Valley: 10.2 percent and 1,600.
The figure for San Diego County for May 2012 compares with 10.4 percent for California and 7.9 percent for the nation, according to the agency. The figures are not seasonally adjusted.
Around 6,400 nonfarm jobs were created last month, the agency said.
The agency reported that the construction sector, hard-hit during the recession and painfully slow to recover, added 1,500 jobs last month. Other areas with big gains were financial activities and trade.
Over the past year, the biggest job-gaining sectors in the area were education and health services; professional and business services; and trade, transportation and utilities.
The number of unemployed San Diego County residents was 139,100, down 14,200 from May 2011. The May 2012 figure was 500 higher than the previous month, but the unemployment rate stayed the same because the labor pool of nearly 1.6 million also grew.
—City News Service contributed to this report.