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Jobs Outlook Brightens In SD County

San Diego Jobs Picture Improving

San Diego County saw its largest monthly hiring increase in more than a year in February. Dean Calbreath business columnist for The San Diego Union-Tribune joins us to talk about the upbeat report.

The number of San Diegans filing for unemployment benefits fell 12 percent in February. Dean Calbreath, business columnist for the San Diego Union-Tribune said this drop is significant.  

“The fact is we're almost into the single-digit numbers and that's a good psychological impact,” Calbreath said.  ”And we're adding a lot of jobs, we're adding jobs probably at a very good pace for a normal economy. For an economy coming out of recession, you would hope to add jobs maybe twice as fast. In a normal economy this would be a good pace.”

But Calbreath says, getting back to our prerecession employment rate will take until 2018.

In San Diego County 40 percent of the growth is in jobs with an average salary of $25,000 a year. One big problem is that NASSCO, the largest shipbuilder on the West Coast, may have to lay off half its workforce.

“The public sector, state-local government, is on a sharp decline. The federal government is sort of holding its own,” Calbreath said. “But may soon decline with all these budget problems. And that reflects itself in government contractors like NASSCO and we have a heavy concentration of government contractors in San Diego that will be affected.”

The question of whether this growth is sustainable hinges on what happens in the public sector, said Calbreath.

“Our area is tightly aligned to the government. So the more these areas get cut back, the more the chance grows that he we might have a second dip in terms of employment going down,” he said.

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